Optional arrangements should be made for Tughlakabad residents: Delhi minister

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New Delhi: Delhi Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Monday said alternative arrangements should be made for the residents of Tughlakabad whose houses are being demolished.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has gone to the court for demolishing the houses of those living around Tughlakabad.

The Delhi government’s lawyers have told the court that the ASI failed to protect its land for a long time, Bharadwaj said.

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“All these oversights and carelessness are the fault of the ASI of the central government, which permitted the land mafia to sell the land by cutting it. Now, the ASI has woken up after years and is demolishing the houses and rendering thousands of people homeless.

“After hearing this, the Delhi government was given some time by the court. But a few days ago, the matter came up again in the Delhi High Court and the court, accepting the views of the Centre, ordered the demolition of these houses,” he said.

Bharadwaj said the matter was mentioned in the Supreme Court by the Mazdoor Awas Samiti. Delhi government’s lawyer Shadan Farasat told the bench of Justice Sanjeev Khanna that the elected government of the city believes that thousands of people started living in the area due to the Centre’s negligence and the connivance of its officers and now, if their houses are destroyed, thousands of people will be homeless.

“This is the land of the ASI. The court should pay attention to the fact that the ASI or the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) should provide the land to the state government so that the latter can come up with a rehabilitation plan and make alternative arrangements for these people,” Bharadwaj said.

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to stay the demolition drive. The next hearing was on Tuesday.

“Let notices be served on the Central government, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and the Delhi Development Authority. We are not staying,” the bench said.

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( With inputs from )

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