Remove Encroachments to Make a Place Liveable

There is nothing to be surprised at in the way anti-encroachment drives at Jahangirpuri and Shaheen Bagh of Delhi were stiffly opposed and ultimately stopped. Encroachments of public lands have been a very common and profitable business for politicians, police, and other civic authorities. It is done with the complicity of all. At the outset, illegal colonies are allowed to come up by taking a certain amount of money from the settlers. Some mafia dons even take contracts for such illegal settlements, they share the money with politicians, police, and the minions of the corporation. Most of the settlers know it very well that even if they are uprooted, a piece of the free plot of 12 to 18 metres in any authorised area is assured for them. Thus, scores of resettlement colonies came up in Delhi some thirty years ago. These illegal settlers were helped by some NGOs, mostly foreign-funded.
Soon thereafter, private players having political patronage emerged. They started purchasing agricultural lands in the outskirts of Delhi to be sold to individual purchasers in different shapes and sizes resulting in the haphazard growth of unauthorised colonies. The land use was changed. Once the area was inhabited, the pressure gets built up by all parties to legalise them for the sake of votes. This vicious circle helps all crooked

players to the disadvantage and inconvenience of peace-loving people.
This is the reason that even today basic facilities are not available in unauthorised colonies. Every inch of land is sold out by the land sharks leaving no space for the hospitals, police stations, post offices, schools, markets, or parking spaces. So much so, that in such unauthorised colonies, streets for public use are left so narrow that no ambulances or fire hydrants can move at the time of any emergency. Parks and walking tracks are unthinkable.
What to say of the unauthorised colonies even in planned colonies roads and streets are illegally occupied with gay abandon causing huge discomforts and difficulties to the people. Once, the late Jagmohan, who was the Urban Development Minister in the Vajpayee government started the anti-encroachment drive in Delhi, but he was fiercely opposed by all corrupt politicians. He was unceremoniously dropped from the cabinet, which was celebrated by the devotees of corruption, regardless of party affiliations. But what can be done when it is as clear as daylight that these encroachments are done with the complicity and connivance of the corrupt politicians, police and MCD personnel? It is, therefore, no wonder that all corrupt persons have got united against any encroachment drive in places like Jahangir Puri, Shaheen Bagh, or Sangam Vihar.
One can find thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, who have built their houses in various public places in the city. They are being given all facilities, almost free, at the cost of the public exchequer. Some of them shamelessly boast to be sons-in-law of India. The modus operandi is the same old one. At first, the demands are made to give them shelter on humanitarian grounds, then they get ration cards, and thereafter they are wooed for votes. Then communal politics comes into full play. If some steps are taken against them, then those who are experts in sophistry will ask why they were allowed to encroach in the first place? Their questions appear to be genuine but that is meant more to confuse and entangle the problems rather than provide the solution.
Therefore, while removing the encroachments, it must also be ensured that those who were responsible for them and in whose time and tenure, they took place, should be imposed exemplary punishments so that it is not repeated in future. After all, it was a crime by them, therefore, they can be tried anytime as the ‘crime is never barred by the limitation act’.