Limbo in Sangam Vihar: Delhi’s Largest Agglomeration of Unauthorised Colonies

Limbo in Sangam Vihar: Delhi’s Largest Agglomeration of Unauthorised Colonies

By Shahana Sheikh, Subhadra Banda, Ben Mandelkern, and Bijendra Jha
2 March 2015

The unauthorised colony is one of seven types of unplanned settlements in Delhi, built on land which is either not zoned for residential use by the Master Plan or which has not yet been included in the development area. These colonies are most often situated on land zoned for agricultural use that has been illegally subdivided into residential plots. As a result, residents of UACs face two broad challenges: poor service delivery and the inability to legally buy and sell the land on which they live. The most recent population estimate counts four million1 people in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies, about a quarter of the population living in the city’s urban agglomeration. Over the decades, Delhi’s governing agencies have outlined a process for moving unauthorised colonies out of their marginal legal status through ‘regularisation’.2 UACs are often confused with jhuggi jhopri clusters (JJCs). These are, however, two distinct types according to the seven categories of ‘unplanned’ settlement defined by the GNCTD. Unlike a UAC, a JJC is located on “public land”—land owned by a public agency such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Railways, the Central Public Works Department, or a department or agency of the Government of National Capital Territory

Suggested Citation: Shahana Sheikh, Subhadra Banda, Bijendra Jha, and Ben Mandelkern, ‘Limbo in Sangam Vihar: Delhi's Largest Agglomeration of Unauthorised Colonies’. A report of the Cities of Delhi project, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi (February 2015).