The Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) on Thursday razed nearly 300 illegal hutments on the land owned by it near the Gumtala bypass. Among the structures demolished was also a ‘church’ housed in a temporary structure.
A team of improvement trust employees reached Kiran Colony near the Gumtala bypass to clear the encroachments. The dwellers resisted the demolition move, but their efforts failed to yield desired results. The dwellers said they were not served notices before the drive.
Samson Masih, secretary, District Congress Committee (urban), said as eviction notices were not issued, the dwellers couldn’t shift their belongings to a safer place. “Most of the residents were away to work when the AIT team razed their dwellings. The household items were still there and the structures were brought down. This is a double setback for them,” he said.
He said, “Local bodies minister Anil Joshi had announced to set up a crematorium on the said land, but the project was scrapped when the residents protested.”
He said there was not much resistence to AIT action as most of the dwellers were away to work. “We plan to hold a protest on Friday,” Maih said.
AIT chairman Sandeep Rishi said a resident had made an attempt to deceive the trust by converting his dwelling into a church in an attempt to evade action.
“They were all trying to evoke religious sentiments to grab land. We will get cases registered against them,” Rishi said. He said since the structures were temporary and without water and power connections, there was no need to issue notices to the dwellers.
“We had told them verbally to vacate the land much in advance. The demolition drive was videographed,” he said.