Communal politics plays out over shifting people for Metro

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2015 23:54 IST
DMRC has been given the responsibility of relocating over 400 families that will be affected due to the project. (Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)

For the past three years, about 400 families in east Delhi’s Trilokpuri, which witnessed communal riots last year, have been living an unsettled life despite living in their own houses.

Their houses will be demolished by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) but they do not know where and when they will be shifted out.

DMRC has been entrusted with the rehabilitation of the families as it will need to demolish over 150 houses for the construction of a Metro line for Phase III.

The rehabilitation plan has taken a political turn as residents have alleged that BJP MP Maheish Girri has asked the authorities to shift the residents, over 90% of whom are Muslims, to Seelampur in northeast Delhi from Trilokpuri.

“Metro line has to go between block 20 and block 15 and DMRC initially wanted to demolish over 150 buildings. We were allotted a portion of land near block 15, 16, 17 and 18, which was purchased by DMRC from Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB). The deal was DMRC will construct the flats and will shift families living in 108 buildings. But when DMRC started the construction work for flats, locals with political backing objected and construction was stopped. The next thing we were told was that the local MP wants us to shift to some other constituency,” said Afzal Hasan, a local.

Contesting the claim, Girri said it was actually a group of five Muslims who had approached him and had told him that they were not happy with the initial rehabilitation plan as the area they were first offered has more than 2,000 Hindu families.

“The place they were initially offered is a Hindu basti. They told me that they would prefer to stay with people of their community, which is why a place in Seelampur was recommended. A group of Hindu families approached me later and said the area that was initially being offered to those affected by the Metro project was a green belt and also that they would feel more comfortable with their own community. As an elected representative, I took stock of the situation and decided on Seelampur,” Girri said.

Residents are, however, unhappy with the plan and said they have spent years living in Trilokpuri and would not want to shift to Seelampur. “We spent all our earnings to build a house and we don’t want to shift to far off areas. We have complained to the minority commission,” Afzal said.

According to Afzal, of the 108 building that are to be demolished, 100 belong to Muslims and 10 to Hindus. Sources said that DMRC may now opt for compensation if the problem continues.

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