320 illegal houses razed in Dehradun
In a surprise demolition drive in Dehradun district on Wednesday morning, the administration razed 320 houses that came up illegally in the past 10 years in Shishambara area of Vikasnagar, leaving residents in the lurch in this biting cold. Though the residents, numbering about 750, initially offered resistance, they had to give in later in the day as a large number of policemen were also deployed in the area during the demolition drive. The families are now worried about their future and the safety of their children.
Sources said that the residents had allegedly encroached upon the land over a period of 10 years with the help of local leaders and contractors. Sub-divisional magistrate of Vikasnagar Jitender Singh said, “The encroachers at Shishambara were asked to vacate the place around six months ago but they continued to stay put. Last month, we issued notice to them in this regard but they did not pay heed to it and began contacting higher-ups to avoid eviction.”
Eviction was imminent as the tehsildar’s court found that these people had illegally occupied the land that was allotted to CRPF by the state government, said the sub-divisional magistrate. He said the administration would provide temporary shelters and food to those who are unable to arrange any accommodation on their own.
Questioning the timing of the eviction, Samajwadi Party leader Mahitosh Maithani said. “It is merciless to raze their houses in this extreme cold weather. These people will now be forced to spend their nights out in the cold.”
Luxmi Devi, whose house was also razed, was seen crying inconsolably. She said, “We have been living in this locality for more than a decade. Local leaders had provided us this land by taking money, but we were never provided with any basic facilities. We had installed solar lights, and hand pumps for water. Now, the cruel administration’s action has forced us to spend our days and nights out in the open in this bitter cold.”
Another resident, Om Prakash, claimed that the state government had earlier planned to facilitate ownership rights to hundreds of slum dwellers staying in the area and also relocate most of them. “It is sheer apathy on the part of the state government to demolish our dwellings without providing any relief. We are left in the lurch. Where will we go in this harsh winter,” he said.