The railways have once again gone soft on the illegal slums that have encroached upon its lands in Delhi, even after deciding to take the problem head on.
Bowing to the political masters, officials will now not disturb those slums which have been there in the railways' internal list of 27,000 encroachments.
A decision has been taken only in case of encroachments in south Delhi - mainly in Okhla area - to drive away relatively new settlers after verifying documents as to the year since which they have been settling there. Their number would not be more than 100. In other words, old slums will enjoy a status quo.
At a meeting chaired by union minister of state for railways KH Muniappa and attended by top officials like the general manager Northern Railway and divisional railway manager, Delhi, and in the presence of Congress MP from south Delhi Ramesh Kumar, the railways have decided to undertake a survey of the number of jhuggis to be uprooted.
According to a section of officers, a large number of the slums were uprooted in 2008 but settlers have returned ever since and captured the lands once again.
"We will ask for proof of residence to see since when they have been settled. In any case, those residing prior to 1989 would not be more than 100 in Okhla area, whereas the majority, like around 300 settlements are now liable to be removed," said a senior railway official requesting anonymity.
What is worse is that even after realising the threat to passenger safety that the encroachments pose, the railways have once again failed to decide anything on the larger number of encroachments in rest of the city. The case of
Okhla area was taken up following the intervention of member of parliament Ramesh Kumar.
As of now, it has been decided that whatever action has to be taken vis-à-vis encroachments in south Delhi, will be taken in the presence of the local member of legislative assembly.