The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) carried out demolitions on Tuesday at Indira Kalyan Vihar jhuggis in Okhla Phase I. More than 15 families lost their homes after the authorities carried out the demolitions around 12 pm.
Senior DDA officials said residents of the slum had encroached on industrial land, then set up shops and did not move out despite warnings. A senior official said no permission from court was required because the drive was carried out to remove illegal establishments from DDA’s industrial land.
DDA eastern division assistant engineer Aftab Ali said, “This property where the jhuggis stood belongs to DDA. On the orders of the vice-chairman of DDA, this demolition was carried out.”
Residents alleged no prior notice was served. “We have been living here for the past 25 years and not once we have been told to vacate the place. We didn’t get any notice prior to the demolition, so all our belongings got buried under the debris,” Javed Ali, a taxi driver, said.
Javed, like many other residents, possesses identity cards and electricity bills.
Standing next to the rubble which was once his hotel, 32-year-old Irfaan is one of the few fortunate ones who could take away his belongings before the demolition started. “Around 12-12.30 pm, they started the demolition. We were given half-an-hour to take out our belongings,” he said.
A resident of Meerut, Irfaan’s family of four lives in a village. He works in Okhla. He used to send money he earned from the hotel to his wife and three children.
“I came here two years ago and started the hotel. My only source of income has been reduced to stones and dust. All the food that we could take out before the demolition is now not fit for sale. This is a huge loss for us,” he said.
(The reporter is a student of EXIMS)