National

AAP Won't Hesitate To Take To Streets To Stop Slum Demolition: Gopal Rai

Despite the BJP's loss in the MCD polls, AAP MLAs on Tuesday accused the party of conspiring to demolish slums in the city. Development Minister Gopal Rai asserted that the Kejriwal government stands up for slum dwellers.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai
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AAP MLAs on Tuesday accused the BJP of conspiring demolition of slums in the city after its defeat in the MCD polls, with Development Minister Gopal Rai asserting in the Assembly that the Kejriwal government stands with the slum dwellers.
     
Rai said it was a clear view of the AAP government that unless rehabilitation is carried out, no new demolition can take place.
     
Hitting back, Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri charged that the AAP MLAs "lied" in the Assembly without presenting a complete picture of the issue. He said there were court orders for the removal of slums in Tughlaqabad village and the Mehrauli area.
     
Rai, participating in a debate in the House over a calling attention motion on "demolition notices received by residents of Tughlaqabad village", said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will take up the issue and it will not hesitate to take to streets to stop the demolition of slums if need be.
     
"We will stop it. The government stands with the slum dwellers. It was our view even in 2015 when the AAP formed government in Delhi that there should be no encroachment but no slums should be removed unless people living there are rehabilitated," he told the Assembly.
     
Initiating discussion on the motion, Tughlaqabad MLA Sahiram demanded the registration of FIRs against officers who allowed the development of the affected colony in his constituency.
     
"What were the officers doing when the colony was developing? Around 10,000 houses have been constructed there. There are 20,000 residents having voter ID cards and they have been given 15 days to vacate," Sahiram said urging the Speaker and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to take up the issue with the Centre to stop the demolition.
     
Several other AAP MLAs complained of notices served on residents of slums under their constituencies by different agencies.
     
Kalkaji MLA Atishi said the notices started being issued a few weeks after the BJP lost the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, for the demolition of slums in several parts of the city.
     
"It is a pre-planned conspiracy of the BJP to clear slums in Delhi. I want to tell the BJP, LG, and DDA no matter how many notices they issue, no bulldozers will be allowed by the Kejriwal government and the AAP," she asserted.
     
She claimed that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has served eviction notices on residents of even the Subhash Camp slum under Bidhuri's constituency Badarpur.
     
Bidhuri, however, said the Subhash Camp in his constituency was settled on a pond land and it was to be removed in compliance with a Supreme Court order.
     
Naresh Yadav, AAP MLA from Mehrauli, said people are scared in his constituency because notices were issued to them in connection with an archaeological park that is yet to come up.
     
"The notices should be withdrawn. I appeal to the LG not to work against the people of Delhi," he said, adding that similar notices were issued to people in other constituencies as well.
     
Ambedkar Nagar MLA Ajay Dutt said the slum in the Khanpur ward of his constituency was to be removed for a Metro rail project and it was not clear whether the displaced people will be rehabilitated or not.
     
Leader of Opposition Bidhuri alleged that the Kejriwal government wanted slums to exist in the city for "political reasons".
     
"There is a court order regarding Tughlaqbad village. If AAP MLAs are so concerned, they should ask Chief Minister Kejriwal to withdraw an order by his government surrendering the land in question to the Archaeological Survey of India," he said.
     
50,000 flats are lying with the Delhi government and instead of shifting slum dwellers there, the AAP government and party MLAs were indulging in politics over the issue, Bidhuri claimed.

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