Continuing its anti-encroachment drive on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court, the municipal corporation razed a total of 33 illegal structures in Giaspura, Daba and Dhandari areas on Thursday.
While 15 houses and six temporary stalls were removed in Daba area near the government school, one illegal boundary wall was removed in Dhandari. A total of 11 structures, including houses, shops and a factorycum-residence were removed in Giaspura.
Unlike the drive at Ghumar Mandi on Wednesday, the MC gave time to residents to retrieve their belongings from their shops and houses.
Many of the illegal structures that were removed in Giaspura were of rel at ive s of for mer mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, who is also a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councillor from ward number 72.
Claiming that the structures demolished were not encroachments, Giaspura said he would move court against MC action.
According to residents, they were infor med only on Wednesday evening that their structures will be razed on Thursday morning by the MC that had marked illegal structures with red signs.
On Thursday morning, MC officials, with the help of JCB machines and anti-riot vans, started the drive by demolishing an illegally constructed wall in Dhandari, following which they proceeded to Giaspura where illegal structures, including shops, houses and a factory, were demolished.
Some residents claimed before the anti-encroachment drive started that their cases of getting permission for getting re gistries of their land were pending in local court, but the MC officials paid no heed and proceeded citing directions of the high court.
“I have been living here for the past 41 years. I had purchased this land in 1973 from a resident of Giaspura when it was under the panchayat system. In 1974, it came under the municipal committee.
The MC had raised question about the land. But later in 1982, I was allotted 500 square yards by the MC. After 2004, when again the issue of this land was raised, I had moved court to get permission for registry of this land. But the case is still sub judice,” 60-year-old Daljit Singh, who had factory and had his residence was also on same land.
Besides, Jagir Singh, a close aide of Giaspura, claimed, “The MC had to remove encroachments in Khasra number 131, but their houses and shops are situated in Khasra number 166. I had demanded one day as Patwari concerned was not available, but in vain. I also produced a document, but the MC officials claimed it was not valid.”
Another resident, Satnam Singh also claimed that his case regarding registry of land was sub judice. His newly painted house and shops were demolished in the drive.
Later, Hakam Singh Giaspura said, “The drive was totally injustice towards the residents, as they were not encroachers. We will move court against this step of the MC. The actual encroachments were near Daba. I had also demanded one day from the MC officials, but they did not give us time to provide valid documents.”
During the drive at Daba, residents tried to thwart the demolition, but the police managed to control the situation. The residents were seen weeping while requesting the MC officials not to demolish their houses.
Meanwhile, in an unexpected act of kindness, affected residents were seen offering drinking water to police, MC officials and mediapersons.
When contacted, Manjeet Singh, zonal commissioner, Zone C, MC, said, “We followed the directions of Punjab and Haryana high court to remove encroachments.
The residents of Giaspura area could not provide any valid document, which could prove that the illegal structures were not encroachments. We had already informed residents about the drive.”