Kejriwal on warpath, no agency ready to accept blame

Slum dwellers hold up their 10-yeard-old voter ID cards that were made based on their Shakur Basti shanker Chakravarty  

“These officials are not humans. They are animals,” was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s reaction when he saw the remains of the thousands of flattened jhuggis in Shakurbasti station area on Saturday night. Referring to the Railways’ officials, who carried out the demolition drive to clear way for a railway terminal, Delhi Government opened another front with the Centre (Railway Ministry) for razing shanties when the temperature dropped drastically and without informing their departments.

During the demolition drive, a six-month-old baby died. While the Railways claimed that the baby was dead before the earthmovers levelled the shanties, Delhi government had ordered a magisterial inquiry in the matter.

Taking a jibe at the Railways for their biasness towards the poor ‘encroachers’ while the rich are let off, Mr Kejriwal tweeted, “There are court orders to raze properties of some rich and politicians in Delhi. Those orders are never implemented [sic]” The CM and Home Minister, Satyender Jain, told the media that a case against the officials will be registered.

“There is no national emergency like situation. I am sure even after six months, Railways will not start work,” said Mr Jain. The government ordered its officials to send relief material such as blankets and food to the affected people. However, in the night when the CM visited and he didn’t find any rehabilitation measures taken up, three officials were suspended- two sub-district magistrates and one superintendent engineer.

The CM, in a way to punish the Railways’ officials, said that they should pay up for the compensation to the family. “It will be deducted from the salaries of the officers who have conducted these raids.” While the railways maintained that the encroachment was ‘fresh’, Mr Kejriwal said the people had been living there since 1992-94.

Sources said that Delhi government may move court seeking FIR against those who ordered to carry out demolition drive as Parliament had issued a Special Provision Act according to which no demolition can be carried out until government needs land urgently. “Even during Commonwealth Games, these jhuggis were not demolished. So what was the urgency about,” Mr Jain said.

No role in demolition: DUSIB

Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) on Sunday claimed to have no role in the slum demolition tragedy as they had no information of the demolition drive and added that no survey was done before carrying it out. “We had no information of this demolition. It was not carried out following rule of policy,” said VK Jain, chief executive officer, DUSIB. As per the policy, a survey before demolition is to be done and those who have the right of rehabilitation have to be rehabilitated.

He further said that the shelter board has drafted its policy on slum rehabilitation and shared with the Railway Ministry. “The Railways had given Rs. 11 crore in 2003 for 4,400 slums, out of which 257 slums were relocated. There are more than 50,000 slums near railway tracks now and the people cannot be rehabilitated with just Rs 11 crore. We are ready to adjust Rs. 11 crore and its interest with whatever will be the cost of rehabilitation,” he added. Mr Jain told the media that proper arrangements have been made for the slum dwellers of Shakur Basti, who have been left homeless. “We are looking into their papers as well.”

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:57:18 AM |

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