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Central Delhi: 124 Houses Receive Demolition Notice, Courtesy G20 Beautification

Residents and activists alleged that demolition without rehabilitation is an unconstitutional act.
dda demolition.

Around 124 families residing in a JJ cluster since 1995 behind Meridien Hotel at Dr Rajender Prasad Road, New Delhi, received demolition notices on May 16. 

These families include more than 500 citizens, including 200 children and more than 100 women. The residents maintain the action is an assault on the livelihoods of people serving as sanitation workers in nearby houses and offices. 

The Land and Development Office under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs issued the notice. 

Nirmal Gorana Agni, convenor, Mazdoor Awas Sangharsh Samiti (MASS), told NewClick, "People were harassed and threatened by the Land and Development Office for forced eviction. The residents are mostly illiterate and belong to the dalit community. On behalf of the slum residents, the Mazdur Awas Sangharsh Samiti sent a representation to the Directorate General of CPWD, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Dy. Director of Land and Development Office, CEO of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights on May 17, 2023, to provide rehabilitation before eviction to slum dwellers."

Agni added, "The basti in question is duly notified by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) as it finds mention in the list of 675 JJ Bastis published by DUSIB. The basti is listed at serial No. 479 bearing JJ Code 500 in the list of 675 JJ Bastis Published by DUSIB on its website."

The residents maintain that they have documents to prove that they have been living in the basti since before 2015. They allege that the proposed demolition is illegal as the basti is in "the list of 675 JJ Bastis cannot be demolished without providing rehabilitation to the dwellers therein under the Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation Policy, 2015."

The MASS has requested Delhi High Court to intervene to protect the slum dwellers from losing their livelihood. 

The organisation maintains that the proposed demolition is also against the decisions of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in Sudama Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi) 2010 SCC OnLine Del 612 and also in Ajay Maken v. Union of India and Others 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7618. 

"The basti should be surveyed as per the Draft Protocol for Removal of Jhuggis and JJ Bastis in Delhi, 2016, and on the basis thereof, the jhuggi dwellers may be provided rehabilitation as per the Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation Policy, 2015," MASS said, in a statement. 

Adni said the notice to evict and demolish houses within four days "is unjust and unconstitutional."

"Until such exercise as stipulated in law is carried out, it is requested that no demolition activity be undertaken in the said basti."

Manju Devi, a resident of JJ Cluster Behind Meridien Hotel, said, "Due to the G20 summit to be held in India, the government authority has been conducting forced evictions and demolitions without proper rehabilitation and alternative relief measures. There is unrest and fear among the slum dwellers that they might end up homeless."

Another resident, Krishna, has been living in the basti for the last 40 years. She said the officials did not care about the school-going children who would have to leave their studies if their houses were demolished.

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