The demolition of the 200 illegally constructed houses in Bhopal's Mahawadiya area in Kolar has not only enraged the residents, but has also led to a confrontation between the BJP MLA from Huzur and the district administration.
On Friday, the district administration had razed down 200 houses, including multi-storied buildings, at Mahawadiya in seven hours.
Huzur MLA Rameshwar Sharma said on Saturday: “The district administration has taken a completely wrong step. More than people who built their houses on encroached land, the patwari, the gram panchayat secretary and the sub-divisional magistrate-level officers are responsible for it and they should be punished first. What were they doing for the past five years? They should have not allowed them to construct them. Didn’t the officials then know that the people are illegally constructing their houses on government land? When the people have spent their money in construction, they suddenly came and demolished them without any prior notice.”
He further said: “I asked the collector to take action against those officers who failed to do their job of checking illegal constructions and became responsible for the loss of hundreds of people in Kolar. The district administration should not have demolished the houses and other buildings without prior notice.”
However, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Maya Awasthi said: “The gram panchayat can’t release the patta to anyone. We have done our work according to the rules and regulations. Our officers have warned them many times that they are constructing their houses on illegal land but they didn’t pay attention. Even before the demolition, the tehisldar and patwari had gone there to inform them.”
Awasthi added: “The land, which was cleared from encroachment, has already been allotted to establish a sub-station of the electricity department. The occupants are making a hue and cry just to get the land in exchange of the encroached land.”
Meanwhile, those who lost their houses in the drive have accused the district administration of siding with the land mafia.
District panchayat member Reena Vishwakarma said: “The district administration has done it to favour the land mafia. We will not keep mum. We will hold a dharna against it.”
Rakesh Singh, one of the residents who lost their land, said: “I have lost my whole savings in constructing the house. We did not know that it was illegal as we had purchased the land and we also have patta."
The occupants on Saturday handed over a memorandum to Huzur MLA Rameshawar Sharma and said they would continue to agitate against the district administration.
During Friday’s demolition, the residents had pelted stones on the officers, the JCB machines and the government vehicles.
Distressed by the demolition, a resident Brijesh Sharma had tried to commit suicide by consuming poison. Later, she was rushed to a hospital and her condition is stated to be stable now.