Delhi HC slams CPWD over squatters at government housing colony
Expressing displeasure over the “failure” of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) to remove encroachment and squatters from government accommodation at Sanjay Basti , the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to prosecute officers who had allowed encroachers in the area since 1977 when the place was hit by a flood.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar came down heavily on the officials for wasting Rs. 82.7 crore of taxpayers’ money that would now be required to relocate the encroachers. It said that the amount should be deducted from their salaries to recover the expense.
“You could not protect your own land and now you are paying nearly Rs. 83 crore to remove encroachers. It is not a small amount. This is how taxpayers money is being used? Your officers closed their eyes to the encroachment. Why the amount should not be deducted from their salary,” the court said.
It ordered that departmental enquiry be initiated against the erring CPWD officials and directed the ministry to file an affidavit indicating the action taken before the next date of hearing on August 30.
The court’s order came while hearing a plea which had claimed that the government flats at north east Delhi’s Sanjay Basti have been encroached upon since 1977 after they were ordered to be re-constructed owing to their dilapidated condition due to the floods in Yamuna.
The plea had said that the contractor who was given to rebuild the accommodation for class 4 government employees set up a shop there and allowed the encroachers to enter in the area.
When the court was apprised about the expenditure to be incurred to relocate the encroachers, it said, “What if someone comes and lives in your (CPWD) director’s bungalow? You would immediately throw their belongings on the road. But since it is class 4 employees accommodation, it is allowed to be used by encroachers. This is too much. The petitioner is right, it is going on with your (CPWD) connivance. Are the encroachers paying rent to your department”?
It also questioned the authorities that how the seals be broken by the encroachers despite an earlier status report of December 2017 which stated that the flats were sealed.
The matter would be now heard on August 30.