The MCG on Sunday razed 40 illegal structures built within the 900-metre restricted area around the IAF ammunition depot, a day before next hearing on the issue in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Among the structures razed were 10 permanent buildings and 30 makeshift ones. The demolition drive was carried out from 6am to 9am in Sat Guru Farms on Old Delhi Road.
According to MCG’s executive engineer Rao Bhopal Singh, who spearheaded the drive, the demolished structures were notified by IAF officials only last week and MCG immediately got working on a strategy to bring them down. The MCG’s demolition team comprised all three joint commissioners, YS Gupta, Vivek Kalia and Pradeep Dagar, besides four executive engineers, 10 subdivisional officers and 15 junior engineers.
“We were planning the demolition for the past week. But due to lack of police availability, we had to postpone it. On Sunday, nearly 1,000 policemen were deployed to assist our demolition team fearing public resentment,” Singh said. The MCG had faced violent resistance in earlier demolition drives. “Most of the structures in the area were rented accommodations used by labourers and were empty as it was a Sunday. The demolition drive did not witness any violence or protests,” he added.
However, some people who lost their homes claimed their buildings were nearly five years old and the MCG should have targeted those making fresh constructions. Indresh Kumar Gupta claimed he bought land and built a permanent three-room home five years ago. “On what ground have they marked my house as illegal? This structure is built before 2011 and they cannot demolish it as per the court’s order,” said Gupta.
Joint Commissioner Gupta rebutted that argument. “The houses taken down were notified by the IAF and later verified by the MCG with house tax records and by comparison of satellite imagery. This should also be seen as a drive against various unauthorized colonies mushrooming in Gurgaon.”
Sources in MCG said another demolition was also planned in Sheetla Colony on Sunday but it was called off fearing protests.
“The suffering of the residents needs to be addressed, and the district administration and MCG are the ones who should speak for them rather than work against them by demolishing their homes and denying them amenities,” said RS Rathee, president of Gurgaon Citizen’s Council who had earlier led the protest.