Situated on the Yamuna river bank in south Delhi, Abul Fazal Enclave I and II are among those 1600-odd unauthorised colonies, which not only underline the flagrant violation of land laws but also highlight Delhi government’s failure to address the issue of urban planning. The recent demolition drive in a nearby area by Delhi’s revenue department — which has left hundreds of people homeless — is a case in point.
Despite having been acquired by the Delhi Development Authority in 1991, a huge chunk of land was being sold to innocent buyers by the land mafia with the connivance of the police and officials from the revenue department.
“A new unauthorised colony in the name of Abul Fazal Enclave III was coming up. But the Delhi High Court ordered the Delhi government to clean up encroachments and acquire the land. By then, hundreds of people had already bought land and constructed houses,” says a resident, requesting anonymity.
But those families, who were displaced in the demolition drive, claim to be rightful owners of the land and have vowed to fight legal battles. “We are meeting ministers and senior government officials to plead our case. We are the rightful owners of the land and we will fight till we win,” says a resident.
Property buyers of Abul Fazal Enclave I and II are luckier as their unauthorised constructions never came under the authorities’ scanner in the last 40 years. The government has now decided to regularise some of the blocks in Abul Fazal Enclave I.
The Delhi government has included 11 blocks (E to N) of Abul Fazal Enclave I in the list of 895 to-be-regularised colonies. And rest of the areas are under consideration for regularisation.
Shams Tabrez, a resident of Abul Fazal Enclave I, says, “Abul Fazal Enclave I and II have many things in common. Both were developed on agriculture land and the majority of residents are from the Muslim community. Even some civic issues are common such as water and electricity crisis, haphazard development, absence of sewage disposal system etc.”
As far as differences between the two colonies are concerned, Abul Fazal Enclave I, which came first, boasts of good residences and higher real estate prices as compared to part II.
“The four blocks (A, B, C, D) of Abul Fazal Enclave I are the oldest ones where mainly doctors, professors and senior government officials reside. The civic amenities are better and houses are well-built. Blocks E to N were developed later and most of the residents are middle-class families. Schools and hospitals make life easy for the residents,” says Nisar Ahmad, president, Abul Fazal Enclave Main Block ABCD residents’ association.
He adds, “Abul Fazal Enclave II, which can be seen as an extension of I, comprises mostly lower middle-class people from different professions. Plots are small in sizes due to which the area is cluttered. There is no school or hospital here.”
Residents say that real estate prices may escalate in the next few years due to Metro connectivity and the constant flow of people from other parts of Delhi and neighbouring states.
Besides other civic problems, says a resident, “one of our major concerns is lack of space for a cemetery. There is only one cemetery for over 8 lakh people in the Jamia Nagar parliamentary constituency. There is a huge patch of land between Abul Fazal Enclave I and II. We are demanding that the government allot it for a cemetery.”