The Special Task Force (STF) constituted to enforce the Supreme Court order to target encroachments from all public places in Delhi removed 475 temporary structures on 30 stretches of roads across the city on the weekend, followed up with similar action in Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli, Janakpuri Metro station and Dwarka on Monday, a public holiday, and is likely to intensify its efforts in the run-up to the court’s deadline. The drive, which aims to clear congestion on roads and free pavements and other walking spaces of squatters, is likely to target 18 arterial roads in south-west, north-east, central and north districts of the national capital on Tuesday. On April 24, the apex court told the central government to rid Delhi of all encroachment on public land within two weeks.The force, constituted by the Union housing and urban affairs ministry on April 25 and comprising top officials from the Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Police, the city’s three municipal corporations and the New Delhi Municipal Council, is the first of its kind set up to target squatters in the national capital. Udai Pratap Singh, vice chairman of DDA, who also heads the force, said STF is working to make the city encroachment free as per the Supreme Court’s order. “The teams have started action. An action taken report is likely to be submitted in the next STF meeting scheduled on May 2,” he said. The STF will submit its report before the Supreme Court on May 15.Over the weekend, STF targeted the stretch between Neela Gumbud and Ashram,Green Park,Hauz Khas, IGNOU Road, Chhatarpur Metro Station, Andheria Mor, Munirka, Rajouri Garden, Subhash Nagar Metro Station, Chattarpur, Savitri Cinema, Chirag Delhi, Mehrauli Badarpur Road and Model Town. It cleared the area of squatters and seized more than 100 abandoned vehicles from the streets. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official involved in the drive said, STF would also “target shanties on government land, abandoned vehicles on roads or pavements, and shops extending onto the footpath. “During next couple of days, we will also target illegal kiosks and encroachment ,especially in the markets in south-west, south, central, and north-east districts. The anti-encroachment drive is likely to be intensified further in consonance with the Supreme Court order from Tuesday.”He said the STF’s initial surveys had found heavy encroachment in Vasant Kunj, Kishangarh, Aurobindo Marg, Burari, Vijay Vihar, Rohini, Shahdara, Khajuri Pushta, Sadar Bazaar, Desh Bandhu Gupta Marg, and Hanuman Mandir on Ring Road. Tuesday’s drive is expected to target these areas. The former commissioner of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi, KS Mehra, said such “drives should be a regular feature to discourage people from taking over roads and government land.”. “The STF monitored joint operation can be termed as biggest encroachment removal drive in the city since the emergency (1975-77; the period saw a similar drive). However, the question is how long the authorities will be able to keep those stretches free from squatters. The government should think of measures like beautification or installation of street furniture on pavements based on the site specifications to keep encroachers at bay,” said Omesh Saigal, former chief secretary of Delhi. Complying with the instructions of the force, three acres of government land allocated to the SDMC’s education department in village Nangali Sakrawat was also cleared of encroachments on Monday.