Nearly 600 families living for years in slums along Bhairon Marg in central Delhi face eviction because the authorities feel their presence poses a threat to VIPs.
A month ago, the Intelligence Bureau wrote to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung about the slums that fall on the route that VIPs generally take to Rajghat.
The IB sleuths said anybody standing on the terrace of these hutments could have a close view of the VIP motorcade.
Northern railway — the land owning agency — was informed about the ‘unauthorised jhuggis’ after which a joint inspection was conducted by officials from the railways and the deputy commissioner’s (New Delhi) office.
Last week, the residents of Hafiz Nagar and Janta camp woke up to notices pasted in front of their houses. The railways in its notice asked residents to vacate their homes in 10 days.
“When this government came to power, it said there will be a building in place of every jhuggi but it seems these were only poll promises to get votes,” said Imamuddin (60), who claimed he had lived here for the past 50 years.
Hafiz Nagar has 120 hutments and around 300 votes. Most men here work as labourers in the nearby railway yard. Less than a kilometre away on the same road, towards Bhairon Mandir, is Janta camp — home to around 400 families.
This colony will also be razed.
Residents said whenever there was VIP movement, the police came and locked their houses. No one is allowed to come out or stand on the terraces. Two months ago, a first-floor bathroom was demolished.
Problems of toilets, population
It wasn’t always like this. Till a few years ago, a boundary wall covered the slums but as the population increased, residents felt the need for more space.
“We built toilets and bathrooms in the first floor so that there is privacy. We stay in 4X5 feet, one-room houses. Our women used to go to railway yard but it is not safe so we built toilets here. The police came and broke everything,” said Imamuddin.
Arun Arora, divisional railway manager of northern railways, said the notices had been sent because the colonies were unauthorised.
“There are many illegal encroachments in Delhi. We are taking necessary measures within the law in co-ordination with the civic agencies, police and the state government to remove the illegal encroachments in a phased manner. We are doing this to free our land for the future expansion of our railway network,” Arora said.