Bela Estate is a slum cluster located on the western bank of the Yamuna. Its subareas include China Colony, Bela Gaon, Moolchand Basti, Malla Gaon and Kanchanpuri. The area falls under the first phase of the Yamuna Riverfront Development Project, under which the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) plans to build a biodiversity park and lake over an area of 189 acres. In May 2018, 550 houses in China Colony and Moolchand Basti were demolished for the project. Prior to that, in 2015, the DDA demolished 80 houses on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to clear encroachments on the Yamuna floodplains, but it failed to rehabilitate the affected people. Following these demolitions, the residents of the area obtained a stay order on the demolition drive from the Delhi high court and sought their right to be rehabilitated under the Rehabilitation Policy, 2015, of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB). Nonrehabilitation of occupants for demolition of houses that existed prior to 2015 is against the DUSIB Policy. The petition [W.P. (C) 5214/2018] is currently being heard (see HRLN report attached). The residents of Bela Estate, mostly smallscale farmers who grow rice, wheat, vegetables, herbs and flowers and workers from the informal sector, have witnessed at least 15 demolition drives since 2006 and have been living under the threat of eviction without rehabilitation. In 2016, they protested at the Delhi Secretariat where a delegation submitted an application to stop the demolitions, which it claimed did not follow the due process of law. The authorities assured them verbally but did not give anything in writing. According to news reports, the land they farm on was leased for collective cropping and grazing by the Delhi Improvement Trust, a precursor to the DDA ,to the Delhi Peasants Cooperative Society (DPCS), which in turn had allotted it to the older generations of the current occupants in 1949. The DPCS would collect rent from farmers to pay to the DIT, and the arrangement continued when the DDA was formed in 1957. In 1966, the leases formally expired, and the DDA allegedly sent out eviction notices to the allottees in 1991, 25 years after the expiry. Residents, however, claim that the first set of eviction notices were only sent out in 2004, before the start of the Commonwealth Games. In 2015, some of the residents received allotment letters for land in Bawana as part of their rehabilitation, while others did not. In September 2020, the DDA conducted a threeday demolition drive at Asita East side near Yamuna bank following an earlier NGT order. The DDA claimed to have retrieved 5,000 square metres of land. According to a news report published in January 2021, volunteers from Bandhua Mukti Morcha have been conducting a survey in an attempt to collect vital information regarding proof of addresses from the residents which would aid their claims for rehabilitation. The residents have been filling in forms documenting the last proof of address issued to them. The documents are also supplemented with photographic evidence. As per the report, the initiative received 98 forms from Kanchanpuri, 80 from Bela Estate, 120 from Moolchand Colony part 1, and more than 250 from Moolchand Colony part 2.
Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations
Complaint against forcible evictions
Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Procedural Laws, Other
Delhi Slum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015
Section 2(a)(i) [Jhuggis that have come up in JJ Basti before January 1, 2015, shall not be demolished without providing alternate housing]; Section 2(a)(iii) [The DUSIB shall provide alternate accommodation to those living in JJ Bastis either on the same land or in the vicinity within a radius of five kilometres]
National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2011
Section 3(1)(a) [The Union government shall make policies and guidelines for the orderly relocation and rehabilitation of slum dwellers in a sustainable, planned and humane manner]
Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board Act, 2010
Section 10(2) [Every scheme for rehabilitation of the residents of JJ Bastis shall specify the cost of the new houses allotted to them and the criteria for eligibility for resettlement]
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Non-rehabilitation of displaced people, Lack of legal protection over land rights, Forced evictions/ Dispossession of Land, Delay in allotment and possession of land/property
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
Name of the adjudicatory body
National Green Tribunal
Name(s) of the Court(s)
High Court of Delhi
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?
Reported Details of the Violation:
In May 2018, 550 houses in China Colony and Moolchand Basti were demolished for the project. Prior to that, in 2015, the DDA demolished 80 houses on the orders of the National Green Tribunal to clear encroachments on the Yamuna floodplains, but it failed to rehabilitate the affected people. The residents of Bela Estate have witnessed at least 15 demolition drives since 2006 and have been living under the threat of eviction without rehabilitation.
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Advocacy (for inclusion in courts), Protests/marches
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict: