For 43-year-old Yash Pal and his family of five, their daily income of Rs 400 has been crushed by bulldozers. A farmer at Bela Estate located right behind Vijay Ghat, Pal along with 80 others residing there had to see their produce being destroyed as the DDA is clearing encroachments from Yamuna floodplains on the directions of the National Green Tribunal.
Pal claims they have lived on the land for over a century as his father Banwari Lal, like him, was also born here. For decades, they and several others have practiced farming on the Yamuna floodplain which is close to Rajghat and Geeta Colony. A group of them protested against the drive and now have sought a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor.
“The land was given to us on lease for 99 years. I have the papers also which states it is in the name of my father. How can they evict us without relocating us or giving us an alternate source of employment? How can they go ahead when a court case is already pending?,” said Pal, a father of four. Their used to earn about Rs 400 per day by selling produce like milk, wheat, spinach, radish and sugarcane.
The DDA is currently on a demolition spree as the NGT has ordered it to work towards restoration of the Yamuna floodplains. A total of 9,700 hectares fall under Zone O (Yamuna Floodplains) that runs through the national Capital. “We are following the NGT’s detailed guidelines for restoration of the zone. The lease of the people there have long been over,” said a DDA official.