The Delhi government on Wednesday began the removal of encroachment and unauthorised construction from at least 197 acres of public land in south Delhi’s Asola village, a top official said.
HT PHOTOn An official said residents of some encroached properties had dug borewells, cut trees and were running stone mining units.The revenue department demolished at least 100 illegally built structures on the encroached land spread across 42 plots, valued at least ₹3,000 crore, South Delhi’s district magistrate Amjad Tak told HT.
Officials said the demolition was carried on the direction of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee. The committee had carried out an inspection in the Asola village on February 19. With 20 earth-moving machines, hundred civil defence volunteers and at least 600 police personnel, the drive started at around 5.30 am and continued till late evening. Members of the court-appointed committee, including Bhure Lal and KJ Rao, were present at the spot.
An official who was part of the demolition team said that the residents of the encroached properties had dug borewells, cut trees and were running small-scale stone mining units without any permission.
“On the direction of the Supreme Court, we had sent a notice to owners at 42 properties to remove the encroachments but they did not remove it. The encroached land belonged to government departments such as gram sabha, forest and education,” Tak said.
“We conducted this extensive demolition in compliance with the apex court’s orders. Most of these properties were farmhouses,” he added.
Among the many properties taken back by the government is one owned by former Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna, said an official who asked not to be named.
Revenue department officials at the spot said around 2,000 sq metre of land within the former bureaucrat’s farmhouse belonged to the gram sabha. “We have demarcated the gram sabha land inside the farmhouse,” the official official.
When contacted, the former L-G said he did not receive any notice from the government. “I am out of station but I heard about a part of my land being demarcated by the government. I have complete papers of every inch of my land. The sale deed and the mutation papers for the property were issued by the tehsildar who is a revenue department official,” he said.
Some of the plots taken back by the government on Wednesday also included around 30 acres of gram sabha land that was transferred to private individuals by tampering land records.