Will targeting roadside vendors be enough to tackle encroachment?
Will targeting roadside vendors be enough to tackle encroachment?
Akhilesh Pandey
Will targeting roadside vendors be enough to tackle encroachment?
Photo: Akhilesh Pandey

Will targeting roadside vendors be enough to tackle encroachment?

Acting on the apex court’s orders, civic bodies, including Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), have kickstarted their drive against encroachment and unauthorised construction in Delhi.

SDMC started its drive with its south and Najafgarh zones today. It has four zones under its jurisdiction.

Eight properties have been sealed and encroachments have been demolished on a large scale — vehicles have been seized, and 7-km of road and 3,000 sq ft of government land has been vacated. In the west zone, the drive was carried out from Janakpuri District Centre to Dwarka Mod and Club Road. In Najafgarh, the drive was carried out in Sector 12 Dwarka, and encroachment from 450 sq ft of government land was removed.

Assistant Commissioner of SDMC, Najafgarh Zone, Alok Tripathy, said, “Encroachments are being removed, we are ensuring that encroachers don’t come again.”

The drive has been dubbed “Freeing Delhi from Unauthorised Construction and Encroachment” by the DDA, and a special task force has been constituted to enforce the same. DDA is also sharing its progress through Twitter.

In one Tweet, DDA claimed to have removed encroachment from 32-km road stretch in Dwarka and Najafgarh.

Residents, however, are suspicious of the authenticity of the claims.   

They have, in fact, started a campaign of their own on social media and sharing pictures of the ground situation.

President of Dwarka Forum, Rejimon CK said, “The DDA began the propaganda. The Tweet by union minister of state with independent charge in the ministry of housing and urban affairs claimed that a 32-km road has been cleared from encroachment in Dwarka and Najafgarh. Now, we have decided to bring to light the true picture by uploading photographs of encroachments in Dwarka.”

A few felt that officials who allowed encroachment to happen in the first place should be brought to the dock as well to send out a strong message and all categories of encroachment must be targeted, not just roadside vendors.  

RTI activist Shobhit Chauhan from Dwarka said, “Officials who allowed such encroachments must be penalised. Also, DDA must remove encroachment by people who have deep pockets — just targeting roadside vendors, who are soft targets anyways, will not do.”

AK Parashar, a resident of Sri Agrasen Apartments, Sector 7, agreed.

He said, “Realtors — and people with money and influence — who undertook unauthorised construction must be dealt with strongly by the administration. In Dwarka, footpaths, market premises, footpaths outside societies and schools, dhalaos, DDA pockets — everywhere — there’s massive encroachment. Can we really hope for a free Dwarka?”