Rs 1,000 cr worth public land under grab,SC told

Squatters have eaten into several acres of prime land in the heart of the Capital,the Supreme Court was told on Wednesday.

Written by Tannu Sharma | New Delhi | Published:February 19, 2009 9:45 am

Supreme Court seeks eviction of unauthorised occupants so that the “purpose for which land was allotted could be used for it”

Squatters have eaten into several acres of prime land in the heart of the Capital,the Supreme Court was told on Wednesday. Most of this land was earmarked for the expansion of three government hospitals — Maulana Azad,Lady Irwin and G B Pant.

The information was placed before a three-member Bench,headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat,which is hearing the matter pertaining to illegal constructions in the city.

Amicus curiae Ranjeet Kumar,assisting the court in the matter,said nearly 20 acres of land,worth Rs 1,000 crore,had been illegally occupied on Minto Road,Mata Sundari Road and Maharaja Ranjit Road,all next to Connaught Place and a stone’s throw from the Supreme Court. Fifteen government bungalows,part of the total encroached land,have also fallen prey,he said.

Senior advocate Kumar told the court that largescale commercial activity on this public land had held back the expansion plans of these hospitals. Reading out from a report,finalised by the apex court-appointed monitoring committee,Kumar said: “Kabari godowns,junkyards and rickshaw garages are being run from these bungalows that are now occupied by squatters.”

The advocate pointed out that more than 23 acres of land had been allotted to the three hospitals in the area. Only 10.541 acres could be utilised. Hearing this,the court directed government agencies to move immediately on the report. The court asked the unauthorised occupants to be evicted so that the “purpose for which the land was allotted could be used for it”.

The Bench,also comprising justices L S Panta and P Sathasivam,will examine the legality of the Masterplan 2021 and is keeping a close eye on the sealing drive.

Kumar pointed out that one of the bungalows ran a sewing centre,while another had been illegally occupied by the Delhi Police. The report described there was a graveyard,a mosque,waste paper godowns,four rickshaw garages and a temple — all illegal — in just one acre here. The report adds the government has lacked the will to evict squatters. It also hints at “extraneous considerations” on the part of authorities in allowing the encroachment.

Justice Pasayat was curious to know the nature of the bungalows. “Are they the ones allotted to the Supreme Court and High Court judges?” he asked. There is at present a shortage of accommodation for the judiciary.

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