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Demolition Drive In Mehrauli Archaeological Park Area, 1,200 Sqm Land Reclaimed

The drive was carried out by the Delhi Development Authority amid police security on Friday, triggering protest from various local residents and a blame game between the AAP and the BJP.

DDAs demolition drive in Mehrauli
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Nearly 1,200 square metres of government land was reclaimed during an "anti-encroachment drive" in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park area a day ago, DDA officials said on Saturday.

The drive was carried out by the Delhi Development Authority amid police security on Friday, triggering protest from various local residents and a blame game between the AAP and the BJP.

The DDA on Saturday said that the exercise will continue.

"During the demolition programme on 10.02.2023, approximately 1200 sq m of government/DDA land has been reclaimed from the encroachers so far, and the exercise is on to reclaim the rest of the encroached government land for its rightful use by all citizens as a park," the urban body said.

The action was taken as part of a demolition drive that will continue till March 9, officials had said on Friday. It comes a month ahead of a G20 meeting planned to be hosted at the archaeological park in south Delhi.

"The court has in the past taken note of the encroachment in the historic park in connection with multiple cases, and many people in the last few decades have built unauthorised structures, some, even five-storey or six-storey, in the area. A notice was issued last December and pasted on walls to alert people," a senior DDA official said on Friday.

A drive has been started by the DDA from February 10 in coordination with the Delhi Police for removal of encroachment from the DDA's land of Ladha Sarai village falling in Mehrauli Archaeological Park.
    This park is home to about 55 monuments under protection of the ASI, state archeological department of Delhi and the DDA, the authority said in a statement on Saturday.
    Earlier, a demolition order dated December 12, 2022 was pasted on the walls of the illegal structures on the land along with markings with directions to the "encroachers to remove all the unauthorised construction from the land in question within 10 days"' it said.
    According to the notice, the land on which the demolition is being carried out is part of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park and the "existing unauthorised encroachment is acting as a hindrance to the development of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park".
    The sprawling park is dotted with historic monuments, and while the area falls under the DDA, the heritage structures are maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
    Official sources said the ASI is also working in full swing for the G20 meet at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, planned to be held early March.
    "The High Court of Delhi has, on many occasions, directed the government authorities to secure, protect and preserve the area falling under Mehrauli Archaeological Park by removing illegal encroachment," the statement said.
    "The department is taking the action to remove the unauthorised/illegal encroachment from the government land and also to secure the Mehrauli Archaeological Park from encroachment," it said.
    A "demarcation exercise had been carried out as per direction of the High Court" in the presence of DDA and Waqf Board representatives by the Revenue Department of Delhi in December 2021, it said.

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