With the demolition of five colonies in Sector 52 and 53 at the Chandigarh-Mohali border on Saturday morning, hundreds of colony dwellers tried to enter neighbouring Mohali but in vain. The Mohali Administration deployed security personnel at various points across the UT-Punjab border to stop colony residents with belongings from entering Mohali.
Security personnel of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) were stationed at key entry points including Jagatpura village, the dividing road of Sector 52/53, other border points near the demolition site, and also near Balongi village.
While several managed to sneak in with their belongings, most of them were turned back.
“We have been ordered to stop those colony dwellers who are carrying their belongings and not the ones who are empty-handed. They might encroach upon the government land in Mohali the way they did in Chandigarh,” said a GMADA official.
Although the move drew a mixed response from various quarters, some residents questioned the legitimacy of such an exercise. Advocate B C Saini, a Phase 10 resident, said, “Nobody can stop free movement of people in our country. The authorities can only check encroachment when it actually happens. They cannot take law into their own hands and start preventing people from entering a city. They are not above the law of the land.”
“First, I get uprooted from my home where I have been living for years. Then I am not allowed reach my relatives’ place in Mohali. Where do I take my family now in this scorching heat?” asked Niamat Ali, 55.
Several residents, however, supported the move and said the exercise will help check encroachments in the city. “If these people are allowed in, they will set up illegal colonies in Mohali, too,” said a Phase 3A resident.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Tejinderpal Singh Sidhu said, “Nobody is being stopped from entering the town. Some personnel have been deployed in some areas only to check if any one encroaches on government land. There are no instructions to stop these dwellers’ from entering as some of them may be going to stay in rented accommodations or at their relatives’ places.”