The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that it has no role in the demolition drive proposed by the DDA in Mehrauli or rehabilitation of displaced residents.
DUSIB said the land-owning agency is the Delhi Development Authority and the board has no role to play in the petition filed by Ghosiya Slum Colony in Mehrauli, which was to be demolished by the authorities.
“Evidently, in the instant case, the alleged demolition drive is proposed by the respondent no. 1 (DDA). It is further submitted that the land-owning agency, as per the petitioner (slum colony) in the present case, is DDA.
“Therefore, in view of this, in so far as the answering respondent (DUSIB) is concerned, it has no role in demolition or rehabilitation of the petitioner,” DUSIB said in an affidavit filed in response to the petition.
The matter came up before Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora who listed it for further hearing on March 14.
DUSIB said DDA is the state level nodal agency for in-situ rehabilitation of slum dwellers (in respect of lands belonging to the Central government and its agencies) under the Pradhan Mantri Awaz Yojna-Housing For All (Urban) in Delhi.
It said no joint survey of the colony has been carried out with the representatives of DDA as per the Delhi Slum Rehabilitation Policy of 2015 and “since the land owning agency in this case is DDA, therefore, any steps as for the rehabilitation, relocation or under in-situ up-gradation, if at all to be done, needs to be done by the DDA”.
DDA, which also filed an affidavit in response to the petition, said factually the colony is not a slum cluster and it is evident from the image taken from Google Earth of Ghosiya Colony of 2006, 2008 and 2010 that the “entire area was green”.
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Subsequently around 2012, erection of jhuggies commenced and at the end of that year, the DDA sought police assistance for demolition of juggis from the colony and removed all of them, it said.
“Image taken from Google Earth in March 2022 shows encroachment in the same area,” DDA said.
The court has passed an interim order directing the authorities to maintain the status quo on 400 jhuggis of the slum colony.
The DDA, on February 10, started a demolition drive in the Mehrauli area amid police security. However, on February 14, Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena directed the DDA to stop the anti-encroachment drive in Mehrauli and Ladha Sarai villages till further instructions, Raj Niwas officials had said.
Locals have claimed that some two and three-storeyed buildings near Aulia Masjid at Andheria More and some shanties were demolished that morning during the drive.
The land on which the alleged encroachment was done belonged to multiple agencies including DDA, Waqf Board, and ASI, it has been claimed.
According to the demolition notice, the land on which the demolition is being carried out is a part of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park and the “existing unauthorised encroachment” is acting as a hindrance to the development of the park.