South Delhi civic body's anti-encroachment drive slammed as 'anti-poor'
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Wednesday said that its mayor and the commissioner would take stock of the illegal structures in Jaitpur, Sarita Vihar, and Madanpur Khadar on Thursday. SDMC mayor Mukesh Suryan said that the streets will be freed from "illegal occupation." The BJP-administered SDMC conducted a survey of encroachment on government land on Wednesday in the three aforementioned wards.
Why does this story matter?
This comes in the backdrop of the NDMC bulldozing structures in the Jahangirpuri area in an anti-encroachment drive. The NDMC's actions were criticized as the demolition stopped hours after a Supreme Court order. The anti-encroachment drives have also been called "anti-poor." Further, the Jahangirpuri drive was carried out right after the area witnessed communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims on Hanuman Jayanti (April 16).
SDMC's month-long demolition drive to remove illegal occupancy
The SDMC has begun a month-long demolition drive to remove illegal structures from government lands, roads, and footpaths, the mayor said. The demolition drive will focus on Okhla, Madanpur Khadar, Sarita Vihar, Jaitpur, Lajpat Nagar, Badarpur, Greater Kailash, Dwarka, Vasant Kunj, Vikas Puri, and Shaheen Bagh, among others. Around 11 am on Thursday, the drive will be conducted in Jasola.
'Obligatory function': SDMC Mayor Mukesh Suryan
"Removing encroachment from government land is an obligatory function of the civic agencies and the SDMC will carry out its duty efficiently," SDMC Mayor Mukesh Suryan was quoted as saying.
Action plan in place to free encroached government lands
An action plan is in place and government lands will soon be free of encroachment, Mayor Suryan said. The police, officials, and the concerned departments have been given the message, he said. "Under the MCD Act, a notice is not given to remove the encroachment, but where people have constructed illegal buildings, we have already served them notices," Suryan reportedly said.
Drive begins in Lajpat Nagar, CR Park, other areas
In the ongoing anti-encroachment drive, the SDMC removed temporary structures from the central market in Lajpat Nagar on Wednesday. It also seized many illegal kiosks and carts. It had conducted similar drives on Tuesday as well in Palam, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Ring Road near Sarai Kale Khan, CR Park, Greater Kailash, and Gurudwara Road.
EDMC bulldozed illegal structures in Kalyanpuri
Meanwhile, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), too, conducted similar demolition drives and bulldozed illegal shops in Kalyanpuri near Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital on Wednesday, officials said. EDMC mayor Shyam Sunder Agrawal had said that the shops were constructed illegally in Kalyanpuri, PTI reported. The municipal corporation removed many temporary structures in Babarpur, Welcome, and Durgapuri Chowk, too.
'What about Sainik Farms?' ask critics
Commenting on SDMC's demolition drive, Delhi Pollution Control Committee Vice-President Abhishek Dutt said that it should be assessed if the drive was being carried out for one area or for the whole of Delhi. "I hope this drive is not against the poor. He should also visit the areas of Sainik Farms where many illegal farmhouses are made," Dutt said, according to News18.
Aam Aadmi Party condemns demolition drive
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)—which administers the elected government in Delhi—condemned the demolition drive. AAP's Durgesh Pathak alleged that "BJP leaders were busy 'collecting money' as they knew they would lose in the MCD elections after six to eight months." "There have been fires 14 times in the last year, people are not able to breathe and they can lose their lives," Pathak added.