SC: Remove 48K shanties along Delhi tracks in 3 months

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered the removal of around 48,000 slum dwellings across railway tracks in Delhi within three months and said no political interference will be entertained in the matter.

The observation from the top court came while dealing with the issue of piling up waste, plastic bags and garbage, lying along the railway tracks in Delhi.

“The encroachments which are there in the safety zones should be removed within a period of three months and no interference, political or otherwise, should be there and no court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments in the area in question,” said the top court.

The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that any interim order granted with respect to encroachments, which have been made along with railway tracks, will not be effective.

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“The picture painted in the report of the EPCA, as well as in the reply filed by the Railways indicates that nothing has been done so far and waste is being piled up and at the same time, there is human habitation which has come in the same area unauthorisedly, which are required to be taken care of,” observed the top court.

It asked for a meeting of all the stakeholders, i.e. Railways, Delhi government and concerned Municipal Corporations as well as Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Trust (DUISB) to be called next week and work be started forthwith. “70 per cent of the requisite amount shall be borne by the Railways and 30 per cent by the state government,” said the top court.

The apex court in the order on August 31, which has been released now, said the stakeholders should develop a comprehensive plan for removal of these shanties, and it should be executed in a phased manner.

In February, the apex court had asked the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA), Delhi government, and various Municipal Corporations to develop a robust plant to address waste materials piling up near railway lines, which includes removal of plastic bags and garbage.

An affidavit was filed by Ashwani Kumar Yadav, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi, pointing out there was predominant presence of jhuggies in Delhi along with 140 km route length of track in the region of NCT of Delhi where the railway tracks take off in different directions and also include a ring connecting the take-off of all these routes.

“Out of this, about 70 km route length of the track is affected by large jhuggie jhopri clusters existing in close vicinity of the tracks. These clusters sum up to a total of about 48,000 of jhuggies in the region adjacent to Railway tracks,” said the affidavit.

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