Sujay Mehdudia

Builders, property dealers and traders now join hands with officials, politicians

Seals have been opened to resume business `A calculated attempt to undermine Court orders'

NEW DELHI: Making a mockery of the much talked about demolition drive being conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in the Capital these days, builders, property dealers and traders have now joined hands with officials and politicians to undermine the court orders. A number of demolished structures are being rebuilt and seals broken open to resume business as usual.

Many such cases have come to light where structures demolished by the MCD squads were rebuilt within days by the builders, property dealers and traders under patronage of MCD officials and political leaders of the civic body. Traders have broken open seals of premises and are back in business. Many of them believe that such demolitions happen from time to time and it is not long before things are back to "normal".

Many of those who have broken open their seals admit in private that they have done so under protection of the civic officials.

Take, for instance, the entire stretch from Pitampura TV Tower to Madhuban Chowk en route Kohat Enclave and into Sectors 7 and 8 of Rohini. This stretch had witnessed massive demolitions during the past few days followed by protests from local traders and associations. However, as fear of demolitions receded and the pace of the exercise slowed down, the traders lost no opportunity to take help of local politicians and officials to rebuild demolished structures.

A close look at Kohat Enclave, Madhuban Chowk and other areas of Rohini Zone indicates the level of corruption that is prevailing. Restoration work has started at many jewellery shops and other commercial establishments that were sealed or demolished.

Some shop and showroom owners have broke open the seals and are conducting repair work. Many of them claimed that they had the protection of officials and some sort of assurance from political leaders.

Many shopkeepers said if caught by the police for breaking open the seal, they would have to face only two or three days in custody as it was a bailable offence. Those who are rebuilding their illegal structures said the bulldozers were unlikely to visit them again as had been indicated by some senior MCD officials.

The situation is no different in other parts of the Capital. At a large number of places, people are rebuilding their partly demolished structures with the help of builders and local officials. The commercial establishments that had closed down due to demolitions are once again coming back to life.

"There has been a calculated attempt to undermine the orders of the Court. The MCD officials, including the deputy commissioners, should be hauled up for allowing such things to take place in their zones. They are all working to slow down the demolition process and ensure that minimum damage is caused to structures that came up after paying bribes. First it was payment of bribes to build these structures, now it is bribing to ensure they are either restored or those untouched are left alone," said an exasperated MCD official.