Illegal occupants: school,police cell,govt institution,squatters

The Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee’s report says encroachers have illegally occupied properties worth “almost Rs 1,000 crore” on Minto Road and Mata Sundari Road.

Written by Mandakini Gahlot | New Delhi | Published:February 19, 2009 11:44 pm

The Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee’s report says encroachers have illegally occupied properties worth “almost Rs 1,000 crore” on Minto Road and Mata Sundari Road. The report says bulk of the property was set aside in the 1960s,to be used by three local government hospitals.

Newsline visits four addresses mentioned in the report

D-25,Maharaja Ranjit Singh Road
A Delhi government-run “stitching and sewing centre” for young girls is run from this plot. Newsline found the gates locked late Wednesday afternoon. “They work till 3 pm,” an onlooker said. “Some girls come here to learn stitching in the morning.” Bulk of the plot appears barren,with grassy overgrowth and one corner has a row of rooms that serve as the sewing centre. But unlike most government offices,the plot does not bear any officious-looking board; a makeshift sign painted on the wall makes the announcement: “Sarkari Silai Centre.”

Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said he is yet to receive the committee’s report. “I am not aware that a government department has its office in the area. If the monitoring committee asks us to submit a report,we will do so.”

The committee has said the premise should be sealed and any occupant evicted at the earliest.

D-27,Maharaja Ranjit Singh Road
One Mirza Mehta Beg occupies the premise — the family claims DDA allotted them the house in 1978. Beg’s wife Sanobar Khunnam said they converted the lawn in front of the bungalow to a primary school in 1995. Initially called Asian Public School,it was rechristened Ram Jethmalani Public School in 2007. Since then,she said,a host of government agencies have approached them claiming ownership of the plot. “The CPWD came in 1996 and said this was not our house. They said the house allotted to us had in fact been demolished. We moved court,” Khunnam said.

The Land and Development Office then sent them a notice saying the family owed the government Rs 55 crore for illegally occupying the land. That case,too,is in court. The SC-appointed monitoring committee,she said,came on February 9 and sealed the school.

The family still lives in their house,located on the same plot as the school. “We do not know if the committee will demolish the school,or whether our residence is also an ‘illegal property’,” she said. She is also “concerned” about 210 students of the school — from Nursery to Class V. “We ran a service for minority children and can’t understand why the government is harassing us.”

The school’s owners claim a part of their operations were funded by renowned lawyer Ram Jethmalani. Jethmalani told Newsline: “I know about the school; it has been closed now. I may have given them a cheque or two at some point — a lot of people come to me for charity; maybe they did as well.”

B-42,Maharaja Ranjit Singh Road
A dilapidated building,it has served as the premises for a cell of Delhi Police’s Crime Against Women (CAW) for years. It also hosted a Lok Adalat for the last two years. The Supreme Court monitoring committee says the police have agreed to vacate the plot by February 20.

Additional CP (Central) Prem Nath said,“We are moving all our special cells to the new building in Kamla Nagar market. I don’t know who owns it.”

B-44,Maharaja Ranjit Singh Road
The monitoring committee’s report says this premise is occupied by “squatters”. Newsline found only two minors in the one-room house on Wednesday afternoon. “We have been living in this house for many years but my mother and grandfather are not at home now,” one child said. A 2006 notice from the MCD,informing residents that they were illegal occupants,was stuck on the door. The committee has directed authorities to evict all occupants and seal this premise.

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