IRKED AT the failure of various public authorities to comply with repeated orders to clean up Dwarka Sub City, the Delhi High Court on Thursday issued showcause notices to several senior officials of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and Delhi Police asking why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them.
The DDA counsel told the bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Jayant Nath that restrictions on cash withdrawals due to demonetisation was hampering payments to dailywage labourers, hired by the agency for picking up construction waste and malba.
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The counsel added that the DDA was empowered to withdraw Rs 80,000 per day for payment but due to the restrictions, the payments could not be made. The lawyer also said there was “labour shortage” in the city due to the demonetisation crisis, because of which the “labour intensive” sanitation work was being affected.
The court, however, noted that the DDA could make payments to the labourers via cheque. Issuing showcause notices to 11 DDA officials, including executive engineers and chief engineers incharge of various areas, the deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner of the SDMC and the DCP, ACP of the Delhi Police, as well as SHOs of three police stations in Dwarka, the bench has asked them to file their replies and status reports by January 11.
“We are giving you a long rope, so either save yourself or hang yourself,” observed the bench. The notices were issued after petitioner Ebbani Aggarwal and Gaurav Deep showed pictures of household waste, garbage and construction waste lying on roads in Dwarka.
The lawyers for DDA and SDMC also argued against the showcause notices, claiming that the move would “demoralise” the officials. The bench commented that it was “feeling demoralised” after looking at photographs of the garbage “They may get energised into action by the order,” it said.
The court has been looking into the issue of lack of sanitation and cleaning in Dwarka since 2014, and has issued numerous directions for proper cleaning up of the area.