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Stop demolitions, demand worried MLAs

Staff Reporter

Discussion in the Assembly on a resolution moved by legislators cutting across party lines

LAW AND ORDER: Delhi Police personnel keeping vigil during the MCD demolition drive at Rohini (Sector-8) in New Delhi on Tuesday .- PHOTO: Sushil Kumar Verma

NEW DELHI: Unnerved by the current demolition drive at the instance of the Delhi High Court and worried about the possible political fallout, MLAs cutting across party lines on Tuesday demanded an end to the ongoing demolition drive by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. A number of Congress MLAs even suggested that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit should lead the legislators in facing the bulldozers to express solidarity with the people of Delhi.

Taking part in a discussion in the Delhi Assembly on a resolution moved under Rule 107 by Mukesh Sharma (Cong), Ramvir Singh Bidhuri (NCP) and Harsharan Singh Bali (BJP), a majority of the MLAs demanded that a way out should be found to end the current demolition drive that had created panic in the Capital.

Current mess

Initiating the debate, Mr. Sharma said the Master Plan of Delhi 2001 had failed badly. If anyone has to be punished for the current mess, then it is the officials who failed to implement the Master Plan in letter and spirit. Mr. Sharma created a flutter when he claimed that 22 police stations and 62 police posts were illegal constructions, the Police Headquarters till date did not have a completion certificate and one floor of the Tis Hazari courts was illegal but these were not being brought down. He even claimed that the office of the MCD Commissioner at Ambedkar Stadium was also illegal and not according to sanctioned plans.

"The Congress should step up efforts to stop demolitions and Ms. Dikshit should not hesitate to court arrest with her MLAs in the interest of Delhiites or the party will face rout in future elections,'' he warned.

Mr. Bidhuri said both the present Congress Government and the previous NDA Government were responsible for the present situation, as they had rejected implementation of the Malhotra Committee Report. He reminded Ms. Dikshit that when slum dwellers were being uprooted and rehabilitated in some other area from Kirti Nagar, she had gone there and stood before the bulldozer to protest the demolitions. "Ms. Dikshit, for the last five days the Capital is being subjected to severe demolitions but the people do not find their Chief Minister this time facing bulldozers for them. The Congress party should wake up to the situation or the people will wipe them out in the next elections,'' he warned.

Mr. Bidhuri said there was no coordination between the party and the Government and both were pulling in different directions. "What is the reason the party is not knocking at the doors of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Congress president Sonia Gandhi?" he asked.

The Kalkaji MLA, Subhash Chopra, also urged the Government to take steps to save the people from the present demolition drive. He said he was against commercialisation of residential areas and said it was time the political leadership stood for the people. "We are ready to face bulldozers along with Ms. Dikshit and the Opposition party if they are willing to take up such a stand,'' he added.


Mahabal Mishra (Cong) said the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had already passed a resolution for mixed land use in 2003 and efforts should be made to ensure that this resolution is implemented as soon as possible. Kanwar Karan Singh (Cong) urged the Government to frame a law to prevent such illegal constructions and encroachments in future. He also demanded strict action against officials who were involved in the growth of such illegal structures.

Mr. Balli blamed the wrong policies of the Delhi Government and its indifferent attitude towards the people of Delhi for the present mess. He said the Sheila Dikshit Government was anti-people and not interested in their welfare or providing relief to them.

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