DDA Demolishes Houses in East Delhi for Riverfront Development, Residents Seek Rehabilitation

Reported by

Nupur SonarLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 8, 2021

Location of Conflict

Bela Estate


East Delhi

Reason or Cause of Conflict


Riverfront development



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)







Bela Estate is a slum cluster located on the western bank of the Yamuna. Its sub-areas 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). Non-rehabilitation 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 small-scale 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, DDA conducted a three-day 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.

Region Classification


Type of Land


Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):


Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):



Starting Year


Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB)

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

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