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Demolition drive: Slum-dwellers clash with AMC officials, cops

According to the petitioners, alternative accommodation was made available earlier at Vasna Shahwadi Awas Yojna, then it was changed to another housing scheme near Jupiter Mill that was suspended for administrative reasons.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
December 29, 2021 3:28:54 am
A child walks out of the residential cluster that underwent demolition by municipal authorities at Bhimjipura in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

A demolition drive by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) at a town planning (TP) scheme plot in Vadaj resulted in slum-dwellers clashing with presonnel of the AMC and police on Tuesday.

BL Vadukar, inspector of Vadaj police station, said “One or two protesters tried to disrupt the demolition drive and were brought to the police station… the drive was completed peacefully. If someone comes forward with a complaint, we will file an FIR and proceed accordingly.”

In 2019, 61 slum-dwellers, who claim to have been living at the AMC-reserved plot of 5,664 square metres for nearly five decades, moved the Gujarat High Court seeking rehabilitation under the Regulation for the Rehabilitation and Redevelopment of the Slums, 2010, after the AMC issued a notification providing alternate accommodation to them at Chandkheda.

According to the petitioners, alternative accommodation was made available earlier at Vasna Shahwadi Awas Yojna, then it was changed to another housing scheme near Jupiter Mill that was suspended for administrative reasons. Finally, they were offered accommodation at Chandkheda under Rajiv Awas Yojna. It was the petitioners’ case that offering accommodation at Chandkheda is in violation of the in situ rehabilitation policy.

In November this year, the court of Justice Biren Vaishnav dismissed the petition, holding that the “petitioners being encroachers could not claim priority of being allotted accommodation by virtue of rehabilitation…” While dismissing the petition, the court allowed interim relief to the dwellers, restraining the AMC from undertaking demolition until December 15. The petitioners then appealed against the single-judge order, which was dismissed on December 21 for default at the admission stage.

Confirming that there were incidents of stone-pelting during the demolition drive on Tuesday, Hitendrakumar Makwana, incharge deputy estate officer and town development officer of west zone, said that none were injured.

Makwana said, “The plot is estimated to be worth Rs 90 crore. Of the 225 dweller families, nearly 60 moved the Gujarat HC following which there was a stay on demolition till December 15. There was no stay after that and after consulting our (AMC) lawyers, we went ahead with the demolition today. According to our survey, of the 225 dwellers, 87 have been given alternate accommodation but some of them wanted to be relocated to a nearby area. If such a space is not available, where do we give them? So we provided alternative accommodation at Chandkheda. The plot has been cleared.”

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