After successful demolition drives in Ghumar Mandi and Barewala Awana following a rap from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the last hearing on February 25, the Municipal Corporation in its latest affidavit and status report filed in the court on Tuesday has told the court to “initiate contempt of court proceedings against political representatives and inhabitants who hamper MC demolition drive”.
Additional Commissioner Isha Kalia, Joint Commissioner P S Ghuman and ATP Kamaljit Kaur went to the HC for hearing on Tuesday. Sources confirmed that in verbal open hearing, the court termed MC’s performance “satisfactory” in the last three months.
The court also said that “be it residential or commercial, all encroachments have to be removed”.
Additional Commissioner Kalia told Newsline, “The court was very appreciative of the fact that MC has started removing encroachments and made it clear that be it residential or commercial, encroachments have to be removed. It said that there was no difference between an encroachment done by poor or rich and thus all would be removed.”
The MC, in its affidavit, said, “Due to model code of conduct in place for parliamentary elections, two officers were deputed as assistant returning officers. The entire staff of building branch which remove encroachments were deputed on various election duties for this duration. Therefore, the removal of encroachments was not as many as expected. Nonetheless MC managed to remove 97 number of cumbersome encroachments with help of district administration.”
Urging the court to take action against “politicos and inhabitants who tried to hamper the drives”, the MC said, “It is added that MC faced strong resistance from inhabitants as well as political representatives during the removal exercised on May 21, 2014. MC faced strong public resistance and protest followed by stone-pelting in which several officials were injured. FIR has been launched in this regard.”
The affidavit — Newsline has a copy of it — signed on behalf of joint commissioner P S Ghuman, who is also heading the building branch, said, “These are the persons who hamper the drive of MC. It is therefore prayed that appropriate direction may be passed to initiate contempt proceedings against such persons who hamper removal of encroachments and put lives of officials performing duties in danger.”
With political leaders like the Congress’s Bharat Bhushan Ashu, the BJP’s Rajinder Bhandari, Simarjit Singh Bains and others stepping in to stop the drives, it is to be seen what action HC takes on MC’s plea as written orders are yet to come out.