The UT Estate Office demolished five illegal colonies in Sector 52 on Saturday. Around 38 acres of land was freed from encroachments with over 1,000 hutments present in these colonies being razed.
The colonies that were razed include Nehru Colony, Pandit Colony, Mazdoor Colony, Kuldeep Colony and Kajheri Colony. Notices for eviction had been issued to four of the five colonies on April 17. Slum-dwellers had been asked to vacate the premises within 21 days. In the last two days, teams from the Estate Office and the police had been visiting the areas asking people to vacate the hutments. The drive started around 6.30 am on Saturday. By afternoon, all five colonies had been demolished. However, apart from slogans being shouted, not much resistance witnessed as many people had already vacated the area.
Eligible beneficiaries in these colonies had already been allotted tenements by the UT administration. The ones residing in the colonies included those whose names did not figure in the biometric survey conducted in 2006.
The drive on Saturday was the second against encroachers in the past few months. The Estate Office had earlier razed Colony Number 5 to vacate over 100 acres of land.
Deputy Commissioner Mohd Shayin said, “We vacated around 38 acres of land from encroachment. The drive was held peacefully with around 200 staff members of the Estate Office and 1,500 police personnel involved. There were some slum-dwellers who had shifted in Kajheri Colony from Colony Number 5 when it was demolished. During the drive, this was also demolished.”
DSP (Law and Order) Roshan Lal, meanwhile, said 1,500 police personnel were deployed at the site. These included a dozen Deputy Superintendents of Police and 40 Inspectors. 500 personnel of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) were also deployed.
“A few colony residents were not co-operating and were made to leave the area. However, nobody was rounded up,” said DSP (South) Surjit Malik.
A company of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 150 civil defence personnel were also deployed at the site. Around 400 personnel were deployed as stand-by in the police headquarters. Apart from this, emergency services including ambulances and fire tenders were also deputed at the site. The security force was headed by ASP (City) Parvinder Singh and supervised by SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill.
Slum dwellers fight for what they own
As the colonies were being demolished and the residents were packing their belongings, there were some who tried stealing material like tin sheds, utensils and iron doors. The slum-dwellers were a harassed lot as they tried to save their household goods.
One of these slum-dwellers claimed that several items had been stolen while she and her family were packing. She added that her son was injured after he entered into a scuffle with a person trying to steal their belongings. In fact, several scrap dealers could be seen lurking in the area looking for items to pick up. Police was then deployed to ensure no theft took place. The police personnel also chased some people trying to take away certain items. Some women also got into a scuffle with each other after they hurled accusations at each other of taking away belongings.
Rent in adjoining areas soars
The slum-dwellers residing in the colonies razed on Saturday were not eligible for getting tenements under the rehabilitation scheme. Though they claimed that they have been residing here for over two decades, their names did not figure in the biometric survey conducted in 2006.
While some of them were shifting to their relatives’ houses, others took rooms on rent. The slum-dwellers claimed rent in the adjoining areas had doubled in the last few days and it was difficult to arrange for alternate accommodation. Deputy Commissioner Mohd Shayin said 57 slum-dwellers had been provided accommodation in the pre-fabricated structures in Sector 52.