‘Routine exercise’, officials say amid anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri
At least 400 police personnel have been sought for the encroachment removal action in the violence-hit area until Thursday
New Delhi: The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) plans to undertake a “joint encroachment removal action” in Jahangirpuri on Wednesday and has sought the assistance of 400 police personnel for the purpose.
This comes a day after Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi chief Adesh Gupta sought action over “illegal encroachments and constructions” against those arrested and accused of violence in Jahangirpuri on Saturday.
North MCD mayor Raja Iqbal Singh said they plan to remove encroachments and illegal constructions carried out in violation of building by-laws. “This is our normal routine work. We will deploy teams from various departments and bulldozers for this purpose. It will not be a very long drive,” he said. Singh said the civic body planned to undertake the drive on Tuesday but it did not materialise as police were not made available.
Deputy police commissioner (north-west) Usha Rangnani remained unavailable for comments despite repeated efforts.
Delhi Police and anti-riot teams have taken positions on the rooftops in the area. Police were also using drones there.
The anti-encroachment teams are likely to first start removing the scrap shops in Jahangirpuri’s C block area, where the violence started on Saturday.
The assistant commissioner of the Civil Lines Zone, under which the violence-hit area falls, wrote to Rangnani on Tuesday saying a special joint encroachment removal action has been fixed in Jahangirpuri. “You are therefore requested to provide at least 400 police personnel including lady police/outer force for maintaining law and order during the encroachment removal action on 19th April, 20th April, and 21st April [Thursday] as per your convenience,” the assistant commissioner wrote.
The assistant commissioner’s letter was also marked to the station house officer (Jahangirpuri) and other agencies. The letter said the maintenance, health, sanitation, and veterinary departments will be part of the drive.
Under normal circumstances, the assistant commissioner can order joint encroachment removal exercises against temporary structures, etc.
North MCD spokesperson Vivek Prakash said the encroachment removal exercises are routine and carried out across the city. “The joint drive by the general branch was pending in this area. This is a regular drive to clear public roads with encroachment which is a regular procedure.”
Prakash said the demolition of illegal construction is carried out by the building department. “Other departments stated in the order remove temporary and mixed encroachments like semi-permanent tents, illegal vendors, carts, etc,” he said.
The building department is not mentioned in the encroachment removal drive order. An official from the department said the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act, 1957, does not provide for encroachment removal/demolition related to criminal activity. “The demolition of illegal structures is carried out as per Section 343 of DMC Act under which properties are booked, notices are issued and further legal actions are taken. However, encroachments on public roads and public land do not require any notices. The general practice has been to issue vacation notices even in such cases where houses are involved. The encroachment removal drive letter does not link it to any other allegation or crime,” the official said, requesting anonymity.