1600 tenements on Ring Road near Pragati Maidan grounded to make way for Pragati Power Project
NEW DELHI: The Slum and JJ Wing of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Wednesday began demolition of the final remaining 1,600 tenements in the Nangla Machhi slum cluster on Ring Road near Pragati Maidan. While about 1,200 jhuggis were removed on the Delhi High Court orders in March this year to pave the way for construction of Phase II of Pragati Power Project, about 1,600 tenements which were occupying about 150 acres of government land and had been left untouched then due to a stay have now been taken up for demolition.
The demolitions on Wednesday went off peacefully. MCD Additional Commissioner A.B. Shukla said the demolition work had been taken up in pursuance of the Supreme Court order dated July 17. He said of the nearly 7,000 residents, those eligible for alternative accommodation were being rehabilitated at Savda Ghewra, while others are making their own arrangements.
The area where the demolition is taking place is meant for a power project. Incidentally, as there were no VIP visitors to the site on Wednesday, MCD said the demolition work continued unhindered. This was in contrast to the situation in March when former Prime Minister V.P. Singh and CPI leaders A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja had reached the spot to express solidarity with the residents and denounced the uprooting of people from their habitat.
The demolition squad was accompanied by about 10 companies of police. The cluster with a total of 2,800 jhuggis was spread over 150 acres on a fly-ash pound. The Delhi High Court had on March 1 directed the Delhi Development Authority, MCD and other government agencies to file a reply as to how the cluster was allowed to come up on this government land -- belonging to the erstwhile DESU -- in the first place.
On the first day of demolitions in March, about 250 jhuggis had been removed while on the second day another 1,000 had been pulled down amid protests from the residents who had claimed that they were not being given alternate accommodation.
Then on June 22 the Supreme Court, on hearing a writ petition filed by five residents of Nangla Machi had directed the Delhi Government not to demolish the slum cluster at Nangla Machi in the Capital for four weeks.