AFTER THE demolition of Colony Number 4, the Chandigarh Administration may have reclaimed about 65 acres of land worth Rs 2,000 crore. However, who allowed the oldest slum colony to grow for forty years remains unanswered by the administration. The colony was razed by the administration on Sunday without any resistance, political or otherwise. The drive was unexpectedly smooth and calm. The UT Estate Office remained a mute spectator to this for through four decades.About 35 acres of the land belongs to the forest department and 30 to the Estate Office and engineering wing, UT Assistant Estate Officer, Harjeet Sandhu, said.
When asked why the slum was allowed to grow and whether the Estate Office does not check unauthorised dwellings, Sandhu stated, “I don’t know who allowed it. This colony is thirty to forty years old and I took charge just about six months back.”
He added, “And we are not making them homeless. We are rehabilitating the homeless, giving them houses so that they start living in a better environment. We have rehabilitated them in Maloya, all those people who have the supporting documents.”
UT Adviser Dharam Pal said, “I think attempts were made [to remove the occupants] in the past but could not be done due to various reasons. Then the process of survey was carried out and the eligible were settled. Covid was also a deterrent. However, I wont be able to comment on why something wasn’t done in the past.”
A former UT official stated that the slum grew with the the knowledge of the Estate Office, engineering wing and local political leaders.
The residents were given an electricity connection, something that the official stated is mandated by the apex court.
“The power connection is mandated by the apex court but the fact is that the Estate Office officials and the engineering wing have been hand in glove with the help of some political workers from the colony itself, all this time. Several attempts to pull down the colony were made in the past but they all failed due to lack of political will and administrative decisions,” the official said.
Other slums with demolition on the cards
Chandigarh continues to accommodate several slums which may soon be demolished, officials said. Of these, Sanjay Colony at Industrial Area Phase I and Kumhar Colony in sector 25 top the list. Several slums continue to come up in Sector 25 and grow each day.