Kath­putli Colony slum razed

DDA de­stroys over 400 jhug­gis in Kath­putli colony amid stone-pelt­ing from the res­i­dents

DNA (Delhi) - - DELHI - Vat­sala Shrangi vat­sala.shrangi@dnain­dia.net

The artists’ com­mu­nity hous­ing pup­peteers, ma­gi­cians, ac­ro­bats, sto­ry­tellers, folk dancers and painters at west Delhi’s Kath­putli Colony looked like a war-torn place on Mon­day with the Delhi De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (DDA) de­mol­ish­ing over 400 jhug­gis amid protests and stone-pelt­ing from the res­i­dents.

As teams of of­fi­cers from the DDA, along with po­lice en­tered the colony dur­ing noon and started bull­doz­ing the houses, the out­raged in­hab­i­tants pelted stones in a bid to put them off. The po­lice used tear gas shells and lath­icharged the protest­ing res­i­dents. The clash con­tin­ued for over an hour, af­ter which, the po­lice de­tained some of the stone-pel­ters.

The DDA started the de­mo­li­tion drive, which is to con­tinue over the next five days, to clear up the place, said of­fi­cials.

“Of the 1800-1900 jhug­gis , the hous­ing au­thor­ity said, around 1400 are still left to be cleared up in or­der to start re­de­vel­op­ment work. We had given them no­tices to va­cate long back and the op­tion to shift tem­po­rar­ily to the tran­sit camp at Anand Par­bat or at Narela, where they have been al­lot­ted flats. How­ever, they were mis­guided by some lo­cal lead­ers started pelt­ing stones hurt­ing some of our of­fi­cers and the po­lice per­son­nel. We are com­mit­ted to bring­ing them back here within two years with mod­ern ameni­ties, school, parks and com­mu­nity cen­tre, among oth­ers,” said JP Ag­gar­wal, DDA’s Hous­ing Com­mis­sioner.

The colony ad­join­ing Shadipur De­pot is known as a hub for the artists. The place lacks ba­sic ameni­ties such as drains, san­i­ta­tion and wa­ter sup­ply, among oth­ers.

The DDA had in last De­cem­ber taken up the de­mo­li­tion drive for the in-situ de­vel­op­ment of the area, where it claims to build houses for the com­mu­nity. It had aimed to start work from March-end this year, how­ever, faced stiff re­sis­tance from the res­i­dents who feared that their art, which is their means of liveli­hood, will be killed if they are re­lo­cated.

Dilip Bhatt, prad­han of the com­mu­nity, al­leged that the DDA was force­fully evict­ing res­i­dents from their homes.

“The of­fi­cials de­mol­ished our homes and beat up our peo­ple. They have killed the liveli­hood of so many peo­ple here. They have their own vested in­ter­ests in the place. They want to en­croach upon our land. All those res­i­dents who were shifted to the tran­sit camp at Anand Par­bat have not been able to feed their fam­i­lies since then,” said Bhatt.

The peo­ple here have to move to one-room ten­e­ments, which are too small to store their art­works or prac­tice even, added Bhatt.

A Delhi De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity bull­dozer car­ries out de­mo­li­tion work at Kath­putli Colony amid protests from res­i­dents on Mon­day

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