Assistant town planner of Solan district, Shail Bala Sharma, was shot dead this week during a SC-ordered drive to remove unauthorised construction; stones were hurled at the DTP enforcement team during its last demolition drive on April 19. These recurrent incidents of violence have forced the MCG to send a written word to Gurgaon police on Wednesday, requesting deployment of 1,200 police personnel for its upcoming drive.
Mohan Singh, DTP (enforcement), MCG, said the MCG had scheduled a demolition drive on Wednesday in the 300-m restricted radius of the IAF ammunition depot in Sector 14, but called it off owing to lack of police protection because of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s visit to Gurgaon and Manesar on the day.
MCG survey reveals there are 4,156 properties illegally constructed in the restricted area, which include 854 commercial buildings, 3,016 residential buildings, and 241 mixed-use buildings. Property tax records of the MCG estimate around 6,000 people residing in these buildings.
However, the drive now stands indefinitely postponed.
“The MCG asked for such huge numbers only after assessing the possibility of resistance and keeping the safety of its staff in mind. The MCG will be extending its demolition drive further into the sensitive interior areas of the ammunition depot, and therefore, there is a greater need of force,” senior town planner Sudhir Singh Chauhan explained.
To this, Singh added, “The incident in Kasauli has further strengthened our need for police cover and compelled us to rethink our safety measures while conducting demolition drives. MCG officials have faced severe resistance in such drives in the past and also suffered injuries.”
The MCG has asked for 1,000 men constables and 200 women constables.
During the April-19 drive too, MCG officials had submitted a request to the Gurgaon police for back-up, but it was provided none.
The letter, sent from the office of Chauhan, said that although the MCG had requested the presence of 500 men and 100 women constables for the drives in the past, the civic body had been, in those instances, provided with a maximum of 10-15 per cent of the requested strength, and, at times, only a handful of police officials.
The enforcement teams regularly face public ire, which quite often turns violent.
In August 2017, for example, four MCG officials were beaten with rods, sticks, and batons by some residents of Nathupur village during a stray animal capture drive. Similarly, in May 2017, during a demolition drive in the same area, six MCG officials were injured after stones were hurled at them by slum dwellers, who had also torched two fire department vehicles.
Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, Sandeep Khirwar, commissioner of the Gurgaon police, said, “Gurgaon police works in tandem with the civic authorities in the city, and will adhere to their need for extra police cover to ensure law and order is maintained during their initiatives.”