40 families left homeless after CPWD demolition drive

Remains of the day: The demolition drive by the Central Public Works Department at Mata Sundari Road began at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday and ended at 5 p.m.

Remains of the day: The demolition drive by the Central Public Works Department at Mata Sundari Road began at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday and ended at 5 p.m.  

Agency officials at site claim several notices were issued to the slum dwellers

Over 40 families were left homeless after the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) started a demolition drive at Mata Sundari Road on Wednesday morning.

‘Very short notice’

Stating that they were left without a roof over their heads in the cold, residents of the slum alleged they were given a “very short” notice and no time to prepare alternative arrangements.

“Why the hurry to demolish our homes just before the beginning of winter? The authorities could have waited for three more months and given us time to find a new place to shift,”said Akram, a slum dweller. He also showed his Aadhaar card and other documents to prove that he has been living on the land for the past 30 years.

The drive began at 9.30 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. A group of occupants tried to stage protest but were pacified by senior police officers camping at the spot.

“We barricaded roads around the land were the demolition drive was conducted. Traffic was also diverted till evening. The drive was completed peacefully,” said Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Anto Alphonse, adding that all but a few occupants have shifted to other places.

Women residents of the slum claimed they were unaware of the demolition drive till officials turned up with bulldozers on Wednesday. They claimed the men had already left for work before the drive began and they could not even save their belongings.

‘This is cruelty’

Uttarakhand resident Vimla Rawat, who came to Delhi around 25 years ago and has been living in the slum since, said, “How is it possible to spend the night in the open in this cold? Safety of women is also an issue. This is cruelty.”

Stating that the land belongs to the Union Ministry of Urban Development, the CPWD staff conducting the demolition drive said illegal shanties were built on the area over the period of time. They claimed to have issued several notices to the slum dwellers regarding the demolition, including one on November 17.

Repeated attempts to contact CPWD officials for a comment on the demolition drive went unsuccessful.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 12:36:36 AM |

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