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'About 28 lakh sq mt area in Delhi freed from encroachers'

About 28 lakh sq mt area in Delhi freed from encroachers

New Delhi: Delhi is facing "severe problems" due to unauthorised construction and encroachment which can be gauged from the fact that the special task force (STF) has already cleared as much as 28 lakh square metre of such area, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur was informed that the STF, constituted in April following the apex court's order to oversee enforcement of laws on illegal construction and monitor the removal of encroachments here, has also cleared about 3,202 sq mt of roads, streets and footpaths.

The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, was told that so far the STF has received around 7,000 complaints out of which about 3,400 complaints have been dealt with and efforts were being made to recruit additional staff for the task force so that they could do their works expeditiously.

"On perusal of the report, we find that the total area cleared from encroachment by STF under permanent structures is as high as 10,71,838 square metres. The area under temporary structures that has been cleared from encroachment is 16,99,858 square metres," the bench said.

"This confirms the severe problems being faced by Delhi due to unauthorized construction and encroachments and the magnitude of the problem," it said.

"Since the commissioners of the municipal corporations are part of the STF, we would require the STF to look into the matter with due seriousness and protect and preserve the land that has been taken possession/retrieved from the unauthorized encroachments. Needless to say, this also includes the roads/ streets/footpaths that have been cleared by the STF with the assistance of the municipal corporations," the bench said.

Regarding the large number of complaints received by STF about unauthorised constructions and encroachment, the bench said, "We may note that the fact that the STF has received more than 7,000 complaints indicates the magnitude of the problem of encroachments and unauthorized construction in Delhi."

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