New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Wednesday launched an “anti-encroachment” drive as part of a 10-day action plan to remove illegal structures from areas within its jurisdiction, including Shaheen Bagh, the venue of gathering for the protracted anti-CAA protests in 2019.
The drive, in which bulldozers were also being used, began from Karni Singh Shooting Range on MB Road in Sangam Vihar area, and will continue till May 13 in different localities, SDMC chairman, Central Zone, Rajpal Singh said.
The drive will cover areas such as the Shaheen Bagh main road, Kalindi Kunj, MB Road, Meharchand Market, Sriniwas Puri and Khada Colony, he said.
"We have prepared a 10-day action plan to remove encroachment from these areas, including Shaheen Bagh. We have also asked for adequate police force to carry out the drive. We will start the drive in Shaheen Bagh on May 9," Singh told PTI.
He said encroachments in Kalindi Kunj and Sriniwas Puri will be removed on May 5 and 6. On May 10, the drive will be conducted near Gurudwara Road near New Friends Colony. On May 11, it will be conducted in Meharchand Market, Lodhi Colony near Sai Baba Mandir and near JLN Metro station, he said.
Another senior SDMC official said, "This is the plan for our routine encroachment removal drives. All these actions are also subject to the availability of the police force."
Shaheen Bagh, which falls under the SDMC's central zone, was in the limelight for being the venue of the sit-in protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December, 2019.
The protest was called off only after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the city in March 2020.
The drive comes after Delhi BJP Chief Adesh Gupta wrote to the mayors of South and East corporations on April 20 to remove encroachments by "Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements" in their areas.
In April, a drive was planned in Okhla and Jasola but it could not be executed due to the unavailability of adequate police force.
The SDMC has written to the police authorities in southeast and south districts to seek force to carry out the encroachment removal action.
An “anti-encroachment” drive conducted by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in Jahangirpuri area just four days after communal violence in the locality drew widespread criticism. The Supreme Court had intervened and ordered the NDMC to maintain status quo.