Bhopal | The Lake Conservation Cell branch of Bhopal Municipal Corporation has completed the preparations for removing the construction coming within a 50-meter radius of FTL (Full Tank Label) between Nehru Nagar and the old Bhadbhada bridge. Notices have been issued to residents to remove their ‘illegal encroachments’. The period of this seven-day notice is ending tomorrow i.e. on 23rd September. Even before the corporation’s bulldozer would move on this settlement, the residents here have already got a stay from the court. The removal of encroachments on the Kaliyasot river, which was originally scheduled for September 23rd, has also been postponed due to Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhopal on September 25th.
One week ago, on September 11th, the Municipal Corporation’s lake cell assistant engineer issued a notice regarding the unauthorized construction of these slums. The notice explicitly stated that residents of this area must dismantle the illegal construction within 7 days. Failure to do so will result in the Bhopal Municipal Corporation taking charge of removing the encroachment. Upon receiving the notice, Bhadbhada colony residents promptly filed a petition in the High Court, leading to a temporary halt on the encroachment removal on September 19, till the next hearing. The next hearing in this case will be held in the month of November.
The residents of Bhadbhada colony, told their grievances to Ground Report.
We have been living here for years, how did everything suddenly become illegal?
Isak Khan of Bhadbhada Settlement told us that,
“We have been living here for years. My father was also born here, we also have the lease of this house. We have also been paying taxes to the corporation for years. And, now they claim that we have engaged in illegal encroachments.”
Isak says, “We came to know through the news that the corporation is going to remove illegal encroachment from Saturday 23rd September. So, we all told the local MLA PC Sharma, and told him about the high court’s stay order. Then, he wrote about the Court orders, on his letterhead, to inform the Corporation Commissioner and the local police station. Eventually, the Corporation Commissioner assured us that no action will be taken on this.”
Important to mention that there is the Taj Hotel right in front of the Bhadbhada Basti, the people living in the slum allege that the view of the hotel is spoiled because of their slums, that is why the Municipal Corporation is bent upon taking action to remove the people living here for years. Talking about this, Hameed Khan of the Basti says,
“The corporation is taking action by making a legal settlement illegal to benefit a private hotel operator. This is happening on the basis of NGT order. This settlement was established in 1938, there are around 325 houses built in this settlement. Some are on Waqfs board land, and some are on revenue land (of which people have a lease)... Why, if it is true that we have been living by occupying the lake land, hasn’t the government or corporation taken any action all these years? Now after the construction of a private hotel they realised the unauthorised construction. We have been paying electricity bills, water tax and property tax for years, but did they not realize that these are illegal encroachments?”
Kaliyasot River and Dam encroachment demolition drive postponed
Additionally, the Building Permission Branch of the Municipal Corporation has issued a notice concerning 11 unauthorized constructions located within a 33-meter radius of the Kaliyasot Dam area. The removal of these structures was initially scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd. However, sources have revealed that the corporation has temporarily postponed this action due to the current circumstances. It has been reported that the police administration is currently focused on security preparations for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Bhopal on the 25th. Consequently, the Municipal Corporation is facing difficulties in obtaining adequate police support to enforce the removal of these encroachments.
The Shivraj government intends to use its bulldozer to address illegal encroachment in the FTL area of Kerwa River, specifically within a 33-meter radius of the river. However, the SDM of this area must prepare a survey report on illegal construction before initiating bulldozer action. Unfortunately, according to sources, the survey report has not yet been started due to the illegal encroachment by influential individuals in this area. The work of removing illegal construction in Bhopal is being done after the order of NGT, which includes creating 33 meters (about 100 feet) no-construction zone on both the banks of Kaliyasot River and also around the FTL (Full Tank Label) of Kaliyasot Dam. Green belt or open space up to 33 meters will have to be ensured.
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