May 11, 2023
1,600+ demolished homes
3,000+ eviction notices
As Delhi gets a facelift before the #G20Summit, demolition drives across the city have intensified.
Read how the authorities left a trail of broken homes & homeless families
This is not the first time that Delhi authorities have undertaken large-scale demolitions ahead of an international event. Evictions before the 2010 Commonwealth Games displaced about 200,000. 13 years later, the city is witnessing similar forced evictions and demolitions.
Despite the law and state government policy requiring rehabilitation plans, at least 1,600 homes have been demolished in Delhi since January this year without resettlement. Thousands have been left homeless after four major demolitions over the past four months.
The beautification drive for the summit began last December. Soon after India got the G20 presidency, the Delhi administration started serving evictions and demolition notices. Notices have been served to 3,000+ families till now.
On December 12, the Delhi Development Authority served notices to about 700 houses in Mehrauli and nearby bastis in Ladha Sarai. Between February 10-13, about 25 houses were razed down. The drive stopped with the intervention of the Delhi High Court on Feb 13.
Three weeks later, on December 29, similar demolition notices were served by the Public Works Department to 125 families in Dhaula Kuan. The notice declared their homes to be illegal encroachments. A stay order by the court saved the residents from imminent demolitions.
On January 11, the Archeological Survey of India served 1,248 demolition notices to houses in Tughlakabad, which were later razed down on April 30 and May 1. But local residents who had surveyed the area pre-demolition, claimed the number of homes is closer to 3,000.
In the Olga Tellis case, the Supreme Court held that the statutory requirement of prior notice cannot be done away with. Central and state legislations lay down minimum notice periods: from 7 to 30 days. But in Moolchand basti, notices were handed out as demolitions began.
On March 10, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi demolished 8 homeless shelters near Kashmere Gate rendering about 5,000 people homeless. This was done without even serving any prior demolition notices.
On March 27, in one case, the Delhi High Court passed an order to remove illegal encroachments from Moolchand basti on the Yamuna flood plains. The following day, DDA went there and began demolishing about 600 makeshift homes showing the court order.
While many of the affected families shifted to rented homes or moved in with their relatives, at least 50 families now live under flyovers near the Moolchand basti. Many others still live amid the rubble of their homes.