Staff Reporter

Patparganj site to be utilised for widening of National Highway 24

  • Notice was given on April 9 to leave within a week
  • No alternative plots for encroachers: Minister

    NEW DELHI: The Public Works Department on Tuesday began evicting residents of Nehru Jhuggi Jhonpri Camp at Patparganj in East Delhi as the site has to be utilised for widening of National Highway-24.

    The PWD had on April 9 issued a notice to all dwellers of the nearly 3,000 jhuggis to leave the place within a week. Subsequently the issue was also raised in the Delhi Assembly by Leader of the Opposition Jagdish Mukhi. He charged that the threat being issued to the jhuggi dwellers to leave or be forcibly evicted was "shameful''.

    Development Minister A. K. Walia had then criticised Prof. Mukhi for circulating "partial information''. When asked whether alternative plots would also be given to these dwellers, Dr. Walia had stated that the policy on rehabilitation was very clear.

    The Minister said while those being evicted from private or Government plots were being rehabilitated at Savda Ghewra and being given alternative plots there, as per a Delhi High Court order alternate plots could not be given to people encroaching on the public's right of way.

    Stating that National Highway-24 is an important Master Plan road and the widening work on the road had started six months ago, Dr. Walia had said that the jhuggi dwellers had known all this while that they had to go. "But we ourselves wanted to wait till all the examinations got over so that the children did not suffer,'' the Minister had declared.

    As per the notice, the demolition of the Nehru JJ Camp began amid strong police presence on Tuesday morning. While some of the residents had already shifted during the past week, those who waited expecting some change in policy found themselves on the road as they were removed from their tenements.

    Due to court orders, the Delhi Government will not be able to assist these dwellers financially. The Government had spent Rs. 8 crore on rehabilitation of jhuggi jhonpri dwellers removed from the Yamuna banks last year, but in the case of these dwellers it will not be able to provide them with alternative housing.

    According to an official at the site, most of the dwellers would shift to neighbouring Ghaziabad as private housing in colonies is still available at affordable rates there.