The UT estate office demolished the Madrasi Colony in Sector 26 on Friday and freed around 30 acres (around 13 lakh square feet; one acre is 43,560 feet) of encroachment. There were around 3,200 structures on the land. The colony was inhabited in the late 1960s.
Those squatting on the land had been issued 21-day eviction notices. Around 2,000 families residing in the colony, who were found eligible, have been rehabilitated by the administration in flats constructed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is executing the rehabilitation scheme. Before Friday’s drive, only those not found eligible for rehabilitation were residing in the colony.
The drive started around 7:30am under the supervision of UT deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer Mohammed Shayin and lasted seven hours.
Four earth removers and four JCBs were pressed into service. Elaborate security arrangements were in place with the deployment of 1,000 police personnel, five DSPs and five inspectors.
The assistant estate officer, three SDMs, a land acquisition officer and other senior officials of estate office were present.
Mohammed Shayin said: “Elaborate arrangements had been made and the drive was carried out peacefully and no untoward incident took place.”
Scrap dealers make a quick buck
Scrap dealers descended upon the colony for purchasing iron, plastic and other waste and took advantage of those who were evicted. Kuldeep Kumar, a resident, said the dealers were giving Rs 15 per kg for iron whereas the rate was over Rs 20.
Jump in rentals in villages
There is now a steep hike in rentals in nearby villages with a large number of homeless forced to look for immediate shelter in Burail, Palsora, Jagatpura, Faida and Maloya. At Burail, where the monthly rent of one-room set was around Rs 2,000 a few days back. It is now Rs 5,000.
Marble market next in line
The estate office will carry out a drive to remove illegal structures on agricultural land in Dhanas, Sarangpur and Dadu Majra villages next. Colonies in Palsora, Sector 25 and Dhanas will be removed therafter.