The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Wednesday conducted an anti-encroachment drive at the city’s ITO area during which 50 illegal “permanent structures” were removed using bulldozers in the presence of police.
The exercise was carried out on the directions of the Delhi High Court, said a senior MCD official, adding that the drive will continue on Thursday.
In late May, the civic body had planned to execute the drive that was aimed at removing kiosks, temporary and permanent structures, however, it was later deferred. The senior official said this was due to the civic body giving the locals a chance to furnish their documents regarding the structures, most of which are located alongside the periphery of the ITO graveyard.
“They [locals] were unable to furnish any documents to prove that the structures were legal, and there was no resistance from their end during the drive,” he said.
While some locals told Today News 24 that the structures were illegal, many questioned the civic body’s move to raze the shops, some of which were present for over three decades.
“Why did they [MCD] collect house taxes from us and provide health licenses if they were going to remove our shops anyway? They should have at least provided us with an alternate space to continue our work. My father started this eatery nearly 40 years ago, and only now it seems to be a problem for the authorities,” said Dinesh Gupta, whose eatery was removed as part of the drive.
Over the past months, a series of anti-encroachments drives led by the erstwhile municipal corporations – North, South and East – have been at the centre of controversy. It started from the demolition of “encroachments” at the violence-hit Jahangirpuri, in May, followed by a failed attempt at the city’s Shaheen Bagh and an exercise that turned violent at Madanpur Khadar in the face of stiff resistance from the locals.