With engineers in the three municipal corporations increasingly getting assaulted for conducting demolition drives, doing one's job seems to be the new mantra for trouble.
Officials say that ever since the corporation was trifurcated, cases of violence against the engineers have increased, as the new councillors are following a voter appeasement policy.
Bhanu Pratap, a junior engineer of north Delhi, was beaten up on Wednesday, allegedly at the behest of the local councillor, for demolition of illegal structures in Libaspur village in northwest Delhi.
On the same day, a sanitation inspector was assaulted in east Delhi, again allegedly by a local councillor.
While Bhanu Pratap's colleagues have filed a police complaint, the sanitation inspector chose to remain silent.
The engineers who conduct the demolition drives have gone to the extent of switching off their phones while on duty so that the local leader cannot intervene.
They complain that it is not only that government departments are widely considered inefficient or corrupt, but also that when officers want to do their job, it is at their own risk.
“Whenever we plan to pull down illegal structures, we get calls from leaders asking us not to carry out the demolition. The leaders say that they will become unpopular if they allow us to remove encroachments,” said an official of the building department, south Delhi.
Last week, an east Delhi councillor allegedly assaulted a junior engineer for not heeding her.
Police said the engineer was a part of an East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) team, out to remove encroachments. After he reached councillor Sandhya Verma's ward, Patparganj, the latter allegedly abused him and held him by his neck.
The matter was resolved only after the police intervened.
“Whenever illegal constructions lead to incidents like the Lalita Park house collapse, the building department is pulled up on charges of negligence but people do not know that sometimes, out of sheer pressure, it is difficult to demolish such structures,” said a North Delhi Corporation official.
Subhash Arya, leader of the house, South Delhi Corporation said that such cases of assault do happen but the councillor and staff should sort it out among themselves.
“Councillors should never interrupt an official on duty,” he stressed.