Amid growing demands from residents of Noida’s Sector 78 to remove “illegal encroachments” in the area, Noida authority officials on Monday demolished makeshift shops that had been set up along the stretch leading up to the high-rises. The development comes in the aftermath of violence witnessed at the Mahagun Moderne society last Wednesday. “There were illegal encroachments on roads in the area, and they were removed today. No settlements have been bulldozed. This is part of our routine anti-encroachment drive,” said Amit Mohan Prasad, CEO, Noida Authority. During the demolition drive on Monday afternoon, tents that served as eateries and hawkers selling vegetables and food were removed from the road in front of Mahagun Moderne Society using two bulldozers.
While the administration maintained that this was a routine demolition, there is fear among workers in the area. “The police already conducted raids and arrested 13 people. Most men have left our colony due to the fear of being arrested. Some of our men used to work at the dhaba outside Mahagun, and some sold vegetables there. Their source of income has gone. We heard they are going to raze our homes,” said Mohsina Bibi, a domestic worker who lives in a settlement located around a
kilometre away from Mahagun Moderne, where violence had broken out over the ‘disappearance’ of a domestic help. Those residing in the high-rise apartments in at least half a dozen societies in Sector 78 claimed the issue of “illegal occupation” is related to security.
Maintaining that action needs to be taken against illegal occupation of land by families of domestic workers, a resident of Aditya Urban Casa claimed, “Hawkers have encroached roads, and workers gather around these stalls in the evening. A lot of small settlements have come up across sectors where daily wage labourers and domestic helps pay Rs 1,000-2,000 for a jhuggi to a local person. There are at least three such colonies in Sector 78. After what happened last week, the existence of such hawkers illegally occupying land as well as such settlements where they live raises a security threat for our families.”