Union Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken has asked Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna to ensure that slum cluster residents and hawkers are not removed without providing in-situ rehabilitation.

In a letter to the L-G on Thursday, the Minister referred to the specific provisions of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions), Second Act 2011, which stipulates that slum clusters, hawkers or vendors are not removed without providing in-situ rehabilitation.

The Minister’s intervention comes in the wake representations and complaints made by slum dwellers, alleging harassment by the local authorities.

In his letter to the L-G, the Minister invoked Section 3 (3) of the Act which stipulates: “In case punitive action is required to be taken by any local authority, prior approval of the Administrator of the National Capital Territory of Delhi or the office authorised by him in this behalf, shall be obtained by the authority or the officer concerned.”

The Minister asked the L-G to direct the local authorities concerned to refrain from taking “arbitrary action against slum dwellers and street vendors without prior approval of the L-G” as per Section 3 (3) of the Act.

Taking on the municipalities, which are controlled by the Bharatiya Janta Party, Mr. Maken said three MCDs have been blatantly violating the overriding Central law, which provided complete protection from ad-hoc and unplanned removal.

He said that despite the NCTD Laws Special Provisions (Second Act, 2011), the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009, and the comprehensive Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) aimed at protection and provision of shelter and livelihoods of the urban poor including slum dwellers, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation had been receiving several complaints of harassment and eviction of slum dwellers from civic authorities, particularly from those in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation area.

He said the Ministry has already written to the Delhi Chief Secretary to take up the issue with the municipal bodies concerned.

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