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

Reported by

Nupur SonarLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

July 6, 2021

Location of Conflict

Bela Estate

East Delhi

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Tourism

Riverfront development

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

2640

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

76

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Delhi

Sector

Industry

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/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation, Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Complaint against procedural violations

Complaint against forcible evictions

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

200

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2016

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Procedural Laws, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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

No

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Yes

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

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

National Green Tribunal

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Delhi

Case Number

W.P.(C.) 5214/2018

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Displacement

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

No

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?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

No

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Nupur Sonar

Reviewed By

Nupur Sonar

Updated By

Nupur Sonar

Edited By

Nupur SonarLand Conflict Watch
X

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Contribute Now