Delhi govt to DDA: Stop demolition in Mehrauli

New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government on Saturday asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to stop its anti-encroachment drive in Mehrauli and announced a fresh demarcation exercise in the area, officials said.

The DDA used the revenue department’s demarcation as the basis for demolition of alleged encroachments, they claimed.

Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot has ordered a fresh demarcation exercise in Mehrauli. The minister said the residents of the area cannot be displaced until a fresh demarcation is conducted, the officials said. In a statement, Gahlot said the DDA used the revenue department’s demarcation as the basis for its demolition drive but the Delhi government has struck down the demarcation after finding shortcomings in it.

“The demarcation was conducted by keeping the residents in dark and without serving any notices to them,” the minister claimed. The district magistrate (South) has been asked to conduct a fresh demarcation of the land and inform the DDA about it immediately, he added.

Gahlot had received representations from the residents of Ladha Sarai village whose land falls under the demolition area, the statement said.

It was stated in the said representations that the demarcation of the land in question by the Delhi government’s revenue department was the only source for the DDA to identify the encroachment, it said.

According to the representations, the demarcation carried out by the revenue department was “illegal and void ab-initio” and conducted without issuing notices to the concerned residents. “In a meeting on Friday, revenue officials admitted that before the demarcation of the Khasra numbers in question, no notice was served to the occupants of those Khasra numbers and obviously there was no participation from them at the time of the demarcation exercise,” Gahlot said

The drive was carried out by the Delhi Development Authority amid police security on Friday.

Nearly 1,200 sqm of government land was reclaimed during the anti-encroachment drive in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park area a day ago, DDA officials said

All stakeholders in this exercise have been on board in the run up to it, including GNCTD. As per the DDA, it is a court mandated exercise.

DDA conducted a demarcation exercise, to identify the extent of unauthorised and illegal encroachment/construction, for the purpose of removing them, had been carried out as per direction.

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