Supporters of unauthorised constructions

Editorial

The ongoing anti-encroachment drive at Jahangirpuri in Delhi

The ongoing anti-encroachment drive at Jahangirpuri in Delhi has become a topic of discussion across the country. When a Hanuman Jayanti procession passed through this area where religious fanatics dominate, stones were pelted at the procession. Several Policemen were injured in the stone pelting. After this, the BJP-ruled Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) decided to take action against unauthorised constructions, and started a demolition campaign.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court

Ideally, the DMC should have been alert to prevent any unauthorised constructions. Nevertheless, the steps taken by the DMC are praiseworthy. However, as soon as the DMC launched the crackdown, many Congressmen, Communists and others got upset and knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court. This is because most of the unauthorised constructions in Jahangirpuri are owned by religious fanatics. There are also allegations that many Rohingya and Bangladeshi infiltrators are living there. The Jamiat-e-Hind filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the action of the DMC; the petition was argued by senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave. The Court has granted a two-week’s stay on the demolition of unauthorised constructions. As a result, the issue has once again come to the fore.

Nexus between politicians and Administration

Unauthorised construction is a nationwide problem. The vote-bank politics of politicians is one main reason that makes the problem more complicated. Representatives of all parties turn a blind eye to these unauthorised constructions in the name of humanity, with the hope that if those who construct like this are overlooked, their votes will come in handy during the elections.

Many unauthorised constructions have been regularised. In Maharashtra, slums that spread till 1995 were first approved officially and then extended every 5 years. Efforts are being made to approve the unauthorised constructions that came up till 2020. However, this does not solve the basic problem; on the contrary, the number of unauthorised constructions are increasing day-by-day. Basically, it is the responsibility of the local Administration to prevent encroachments. Was the Administration asleep till such a large number of unauthorised constructions came up ? Such constructions are definitely not a one-man show. Is there some chain working for this ? Which officers and leaders are involved ? This needs to be investigated.

There is no denying the possibility that such constructions are taking place hand-in-glove between officials and leaders. Therefore, action must be taken against them first. Rulers need to take decisions in the public interest, not popularity. However, it is futile to expect politicians (who indulge in vote-bank politics) and Administrative officers (who dance to the tunes of politicians) to take tough decisions in the national interest. This is a failure of ‘Secular Democracy’ that people who are intolerant of encroachments on their personal land are reluctant to use their own rights to remove the encroachments on Government or public land. If unauthorised constructions are taking place in flagrant violation of the laws of the country, that is because people’s helplessness. But when action is taken against such unauthorised constructions, it becomes arrogance of authorities ? What sort of a logic is this ? Administrative permission is not taken for putting up unauthorised construction, then why should notices be issued while demolishing them ?

Anti-social outlook of people’s representatives

Communist leader Brinda Karat

The only effective solution to the problem of encroachment is to demolish the unauthorised constructions as soon as they are noticed and immediately punish the people involved. This will create some respect in their minds about laws of the land and will help prevent such encroachments in future. If action is not taken or only mild action is taken against the criminals, will such crimes stop ? Regularising such encroachments is not the solution to preventing them. This would tantamount to relaxing the criteria for passing exams so as to show increase in the passing percentage.

Following the Court’s stay on the demolitions in Jahangirpuri, they were continued by the Municipal Commissioner till the stay order was actually received. Communist leader Brinda Karat reacted angrily to this by contacting senior officials and trying to stop the demolition. Why do these politicians not show such promptness in preventing unauthorised constructions ? A similar incident had taken place earlier in connection with an unauthorised place of worship in Pune. When the administration went to demolish this place of worship, which was built by encroaching on the municipal land, a Congress leader came and challanged – ‘Run the bulldozer over me first’. If Government representatives themselves oppose the removal of encroachment on Government land, is it not akin to the watchman of a property himself indulging in stealing it ?

Today, when the Court order to remove unauthorised loudspeakers from places of worship is not being obeyed, no one is talking against flagrant violation of the order. This shows the hypocrisy of the so-called progressive gang. In fact, action should first be taken against these people who support unauthorised activities.

Unauthorised constructions stress civic amenities. This problem is not only related to town planning, but also to national security. It has been revealed many times that anti-national activities are being carried out from such places. The riots in Jahangirpuri are a recent example.

Therefore, it is a need of hour to deal with this problem not only in terms of unauthorised construction, but also in terms of national security.

The solution to encroachment is to demolish them as soon as they are noticed and punish the people involved !

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