Residents say they were not even allowed to collect their belongings
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) demolished over 1,000 hutments along the banks of Sabarmati river on Friday to make way for the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project (SRFD).
The demolition began around 10 from three pockets of Kaagdiwad,Gujari Bazaar (Sunday flea market) and Khanpur moved towards Sardar Bridge,leaving more than 8,000 families homeless by evening.
Khurshid Ahmed,a resident of Khanpur,said,The AMC did not give any notice for vacating the houses before demolishing them. The Gujarat High Court had stayed the demolition and yet they bulldozed houses in the entire stretch from Kaagdiwal.
Lila Mohan from Gujari Bazaar said,The bulldozers began razing the houses when people were asleep. We requested them to at least let us take our utensils and clothes,but they did not even allow that.
SRFD director Dilip Mahajan refused to comment.On Wednesday,the AMC had began its drive demolition from Dudheshwar,where more than 400 houses were razed.
The drive continued on Thursday from Nehru Bridge to Kaagdiwal where another 450 houses were demolished.
Nilima Rawat,an SRFD official present at the spot,refused to talk,saying that Municipal Commissioner I P Gautam had ordered the demolition. Gautam was unavailable for comments.
HC stays demolition,warns civic body
At the start of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project,certain voluntary organisations and individuals had moved a Public Interest Litigation before the Gujarat High Court in 2005.
Advocate for the petitioners and senior High Court counsel Girish Patel said the HC had ordered a stay on the displacement of hutments without rehabilitation in 2005 only. On Friday,when civic officials went on a demolition drive at the riverfront project site,around 200-300 persons approached the HC for relief.
The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice J B Pardiwala conducted an urgent hearing inside the Chief Justices chamber at 6 pm.
The advocate of the petitioners,Manoj Shrimali,and of AMC,
Abhishek Mehta,were present. Patel said the court has ordered immediate stay on the demolition. The court,Patel added,has also warned the AMC of stern action in case of non-compliance of its order.