The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and SDMC (South Delhi Municipal Corporation) demolished over 300 shanties in the slum at Dadwal Colony, Mehrauli, New Delhi, as reported by The Times of India.
A senior official of Delhi Development Authority said that the demolition drive was carried out as per the order of the Delhi High Court. The land belonged to DDA and SDMC (South Delhi Municipal Corporation) was maintaining it. He further stated that the land later was encroached by one of the residents who claimed to be its owner and he rented out the place to jhuggi dwellers, as reported by Hindustan Times.
They demolished almost 300 hutments in the two-day drive. The residents have been forced to spend cold nights of Delhi Winters under the open sky with their little children. They have nowhere to go and the little money they had saved proved to be of no help as it was in old currency denominations.
The people living in the slums blamed the authorities saying that there was no pre-intimation or notice before demolition started.
Another SDMC official stated that the corporation tried to evict the person who illegally rented out the land. When he was not able to prove the ownership of the land in court, they decided to carry a joint demolition drive with DDA as reported by Hindustan Times.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visited the slum and assured relief to the people affected. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted that he had directed authorities to provide tents and food.
The slum dwellers are not at all optimistic. They say that all their belongings are in the rubble as they did not get a prior intimation of the demolition. They are also forced to spend the cold nights without a roof over their head, with small children in tow.
For immediate relief, 22 tents have been set up, but each can accommodate only eight people while there are over thousand who are in desperate need of shelter, as reported by The Times of India.
There are many other organisations providing meals and assuring them that they will get a place to live.
Many other slum dwellers who are living in other parts of the capital are now worried that their houses will be demolished too.
Land encroachment is a big problem, and necessary action should be taken against those guilty of it. But, those caught in the crossfire, like the slum dwellers in this instance should get proper rehabilitation before the demolition drives take place. It might be easier to intimate residents in advance and help them move to another location rather than run to erect temporary accommodation after the fact.
The Logical Indian requests all Municipal and State Governments to please give this a thought. It reduces the burden and conflict for the civic authorities.