The UT administration on Wednesday demolished around one third of the 7,035 hutments in Colony Number 5 - city biggest slum. The drive will continue for at least for the next two days.
According to officials of the UT administration, around 2,500 structures were demolished, with which around 17 acres of land was vacated and was fenced with barbed wires. The colony covered a total area of 60 acres.
"The demolition drive was carried out amid tight security, so no violence or unpleasant incident happened," said Amrinder Singh, tehsildar, Chandigarh.
The UT administration had made an elaborative arrangement for the drive with 10 JCB machines, 60 workers and 2,000 security personnel. The demolition drive was started at around 9 am from Block-B of the colony from where most of the residents have been allotted one-room houses under the rehabilitation scheme at Dhanas.
Deputy commissioner of Chandigarh, Mohammed Shayin, said, "it is the biggest demolition drive ever conducted in the city. We will continue it till all the houses are razed as they are illegal."
Anticipating the demolition, the residents had already started demolishing their hutments and taking away scrap and other household items since Tuesday evening. The process continued till Wednesday evening. Some resident couldn't even remove their household items and were trapped under the debris after the demolition.
The demolition drive also left a large number of people homeless, who didn't figure in the list of single room house allottees.
Earlier in the morning, trying to oppose the demolition drive, BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan reached the colony with his supporters. He tried to intervene but the administration officials refused to entertain them.
Later, they were taken in preventive custody by the Chandigarh Police. Dhawan, along with his handful of supporters, had not been released till the filing of the report late in the evening.
According to Chandigarh police, a total of 300 people were taken in preventive custody, majority of them were released later. The Chandigarh Police had blocked most of roads leading to the colony, leading to chaos in some of southern sectors.
Significantly, the administration in October-end had issued a notice of 21 days, directing the dwellers of Colony Number 5 to move to Dhanas, where UT administration had built 8,448 flats under the rehabilitation scheme. The notice period ended on Tuesday. As many as 5,000 beneficiaries were identified for rehabilitation on the basis of biometric survey carried out in 2006.
HT fast facts
Around 2000 cops were deployed
10 JCB machines and 60 laboureres were put on the job
Around 10,000 people affected
25,00 houses demolished
Who they are
According to a study by Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Sector 19, the residents of this slum were migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and neighboring states
of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. The better livelihood options available in the city seem to have attracted the migrants. The study states that total 97 % of slum-dwellers belonged to underprivileged sections of the society such as SCs, STs, and OBCs.
As per official records, the city houses a total of 18 slums spread in different parts with a total of 23,974 hutments and a population of more than 1.5 lakh.