Standing crops and plants in nurseries on the Yamuna floodplains behind Commonwealth Games (CWG) Village were removed on Tuesday by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), with farmers being asked to vacate the area in two days.
Locals claim that hundreds of farmers have been affected by the DDA’s anti-encroachment drive to clear 120 hectares of floodplains for compensatory plantation of trees by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
A DDA official from the horticulture division said, “The encroachments were removed as per the September 2019 orders of the National Green Tribunal, according to which floodplains are to be rejuvenated and encroachments removed.”
He added, “The DDA is conducting an encroachment removal drive across Delhi… Previously 72 hectares of floodplains in the area (behind the CWG Village) were cleared and 48 hectares remained. Some of it has been cleared today.”
The official said that on 90 hectares of floodplains behind the village, compensatory plantation of 60,000 trees will be done by the NHAI.
Farmers affected by eviction drive said their livelihoods were already affected by the coronavirus lockdown and are now facing further losses.
Chain Singh (42), a farmer who lives on the floodplains with his family, said, “I have been here since my childhood, and there are about 400 farmers who grow crops and plants in nurseries here. They could have at least warned before bulldozing our crops. We don’t know where to go now or what we will do.”
Bhim Singh Rawat of SANDRP, a collective working on water-related issues, said, “This is the time of a pandemic and the marginal section of the society is already suffering a lot… Crushing their livelihood under a bulldozer is criminal and inhuman,” he said.
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