New Delhi: The Delhi government has decided to clear the way for development of 357 colonies of which 157 are habited in ridge and forest areas with no sign of any forests or greenery. Besides, the proposal has also been mooted to sanction 200 colonies which have already completed more than half of their construction.

These decisions were taken in the meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) held at the state Secretariat here on Monday.  GoM Chairman Raj Kumar Chauhan said the decision has also been taken to carry out afforestation on the Gram Sabha land on the basis of the land area to enhance the national capital’s green belt.

It may be noted that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had formed the Group of Ministers (GoM) to facilitate and speed up development works in villages, unauthorised and rehabilitated colonies.

According to the GoM, the government had issued a notification in 1995 to save the ridges and forests. Currently, the ridge and forest area is devoid of plant life. However, there are several colonies which came up much earlier of which most of them are located in South Delhi with Sangam Vihar being the biggest one.

Lakhs of people residing in these colonies cannot be rehabilitated elsewhere, therefore it is necessary to regulate and develop them, the GoM said.

Further, the GoM also decided to regularise as many as 200 colonies which had less than 10 percent construction in 2002 and less than 50 percent construction in 2007 but have now accomplished 100 percent establishment.

When referred to the rule made in 2007 that colonies with less than 50 percent construction should not be regularized, Chauhan said, “Now the rules will be changed and if needed the case will be taken to the court.”

He, however, added that after the panel’s approval, the proposal would soon be sent to the government.

The next meeting of the GoM slated on Friday would decide on bringing the 30-feet wide roads presently under the Municipal Department of Delhi, under the Public Works Department and on giving ownership rights to the residents of the rehabilitated colonies.

The decision on the trading of land in the unauthorised colonies will be taken in another GoM meeting to be held on next Monday.