After several failed attempts and unfruitful political lobbying, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) on Wednesday conducted a massive demolition drive on Kanadia Road to remove encroachments.
Starting Wednesday morning, the IMC pulled down at least 100 residential and commercial establishments to widen the road in accordance with the city’s 2021 master plan. There are more than 150 encroachments along a 1,200-meter stretch.
The corporation employed three giant hydraulic Poclain machines, five JCB machines and 150 men to pull down the buildings, with support from at least 150 policemen to prevent any untoward incident during the drive.
The road between Patrakar Colony and Bengali Square, which is designated to be 104 feet wide according to the master plan, is today only 50-60 feet wide as residents have indiscriminately encroached on government land from both sides of the road over the past 40 years.
The city’s 2021 master plan was drafted in 2005 and came into force in 2008. “So far the city has expanded in an extremely unplanned manner, people encroached upon government lands. This can’t be tolerated,” said municipal commissioner Manish Singh.
The IMC efforts to remove encroachments have been foiled several times in the past, as leaders politicised the issue. Bhartiya Janata Party’s Indore MP Sumitra Mahajan, Indore-V assembly constituency MLA Mahendra Singh Hardia, IMC speaker and corporator from Samvid Nagar area Ajay Singh Naruka were among the few who objected to the massive anti-encroachment drive.
There have been several rounds of talks with the city mayor and other officials to reduce the width of road from 104 feet to 80 feet, but no consensus could be reached.
IMC removal in-charge deputy commissioner Mahendra Singh Chouhan said, “The removal drive was conducted very peacefully. In fact, the people accepted their fault and co-operated with us. The drive will continue on Thursday.”
People were seen removing their belongings and even demolishing the parts of their houses encroaching on government land, fearing the heavy machines may damage the entire construction.
Despite the peaceful drive, voices of dissent are there. Area corporator and IMC speaker Ajay Singh Naruka said, “The commissioner could have informed the people in advance and conducted the demolition after the upcoming Diwali festival.”
There are three religious places in the area which are currently in the way of the road-expansion plans. “A decision has not yet been taken on whether we should go ahead and to bring them down,” removal in-charge Chouhan said