Officials from the Revenue, GHMC and Police departments launched a demolition drive against unauthorised constructions in Jubilee Hills on Friday morning, sparking angry protests from slum-dwellers.
According to eyewitness accounts, residents from the nearby Ambedkar Nagar slum on Road No. 46 of Jubilee Hills had raised illegal structures on a two-acre government land allotted for a double bedroom housing scheme for the urban poor.
They were incidentally among the 150-plus residents of the slum who had been given allotment letters seven years ago, with a promise of construction of 2BHK units in the two-acre site abutting the slum.
A total of 168 units were planned to be constructed at the location in three blocks, with each block containing 56 housing units. However, little work has been done on the site in the seven years since, except for slabs raised for one block.
Miffed with the years of delay, a few slum-dwellers began to occupy the land and raise structures all by themselves, leading to the action by the Revenue Department. Residents staged demonstrations and tried to stop officials from demolishing the structures.
There have been reports of the agitation turning violent occasionally, with protesters pelting stones at officials and smashing the shields of the excavator vehicles.
In the wake of the incident, opposition leaders from the Congress and BJP visited the spot and staged a demonstration seeking a solution for the residents.
Officials from the GHMC’s Housing wing said that possession of the land was given only two years ago. Construction was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, the contractor reportedly refused to start the work due to non-release of funds, bringing construction to a standstill.
“The delay has been compounded due to a lack of space for dumping construction material. On account of this, work can progress only in a linear fashion, with one block being built after the other,” officials said.
Officials assured that the foundation for the second block too has been completed, and the work would be taken up eventually.