New Delhi: Exposing hundreds of people to bitter cold, around 500 shanties in a slum area of west Delhi were demolished on Saturday by the Railway police during an anti-encroachment drive, allegedly leading to the death of a child.
According to the dwellers of Shakur Basti, the girl died when a piece of furniture fell over her during the demolition, which was allegedly carried out without any prior notice or warning.
इतनी सर्दी में आज रेल्वे वालों ने 500 झुग्गियाँ तोड़ दी। एक बच्चे की मौत हो गए। भगवान उन्हें कभी माफ़ नहीं करेगा।
Denying the charges, the Railways in a statement said that the residents were issued a number of notices to vacate the land where a new passenger terminal was proposed to be built. The girl, the statement said, died before the demolition drive began.
“Death of the child and encroachment drive are not related. According to police records, the child died much earlier,” said Delhi Divisional Railway Manager Arun Arora.
Railways officials are expected to meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday on the issue.
More than 500 slums demolished in an alleged anti-encroachment drive by the Railways in Shakur Basti(Delhi) pic.twitter.com/74ccqfHVb6
Kejriwal, who visited the area late Saturday night, condemned the incident, saying, “This is highly condemnable. God will not forgive them. They (officers involved) should be booked for murder,” adding that the government has suspended three senior officials for failing to provide relief material to the residents.
It should be noted that Kejriwal had promised to replace slums with permanent structures without razing a single home.
He later tweeted:
Spoke to Railway minister Sh Suresh Prabhu also just now. He said he was not aware of this operation. He was also shocked.
"If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function," it says.
The Delhi government has drafted a policy to keep a check on the wastage of food at social functions in the national capital.
All organisers and caterers will have to register themselves with NGOs to manage the surplus and leftover food for distribution among the underprivileged, says the draft policy.
“The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs,” reads the Draft ‘Policy for Holding Social Functions in Hotels, Motels and Low-Density Residential Area (LDRA) in National Capital Territory of Delhi’.
According to the draft policy, the owner, organiser, and the caterer must have the necessary permissions including FSSAI license from Delhi’s Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to run their kitchens or to sell or serve prepared food for the guest and the consumer.
“They should be registered with some NGO to manage surplus/leftover food by distributing the same among underprivileged. The caterer should make proper arrangements to handover fresh surplus and leftover food to these NGOs.
The food preparation should be according to the ceiling of the number of guests as per prescribed capacity of the motel and LDRA. The number of guests cannot exceed the guest limit approved by the Urban Local Body (ULB) for that function site, it says.
“If the food is surplus due to lower turnout of the guest and resultant less consumption, then it shall be the responsibility of organiser of the social function to remove that food from the social function site, immediately after the completion of the duration of that social function,” it says.
The Commissioner Food Safety shall ensure that the above conditions are strictly followed; any violation thereof would invite action from the deployed officers by the Commissioner Food Safety, the draft policy reads.
The rules will be enforced by periodical inspections, which shall be conducted by officers of various state stakeholder agencies.
“Further, officers of respective ULB will conduct random or complaint-based inspection. The violations would be noted with proofs by the inspecting officers without the disrupting the function. In the event of violation of any of the conditions, the penalty would be imposed against violators under specific act/rules/orders.”
“The capacity of the space should be determined by multiplying the total number of car parking available by four or by means the number of persons obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the premises by occupant load factor at 1.5 sqm, whichever is less,” says the document.
It said adding that the total number of days on which a social function can be organised are restricted to 120 days in authorized/approved spaces.
The draft also said that motels and LDRA should be constructed as per sanctioned building plan.
“Minimum area of LDRA must be equals or more than 2.5 acres. Only such Motel and LDRA houses should be permitted to hold social functions which have proper access to the road from a main road (60 ft wide or more) and the LDRA should not be located at a road which ends in a dead end,” it said.
According to an official from the government, the decision to formulate a comprehensive policy regulating social functions was taken after the direction of the Supreme Court.
“Further, in view of Motel Policy of Ministry of Tourism 1995, policy for holding social functions in Farmhouses of Government of NCT of Delhi, Master Plan 2021(MPD 2021), amendments in MPD-2021 notified in 2013, a comprehensive policy was required to be drafted,” the official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
The Chief Secretary has constituted a committee of four officers, including Principal Secretaries of Urban Development and Health, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi Jal Board and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, to draft the policy.
“Accordingly, the committee after consultation with all stakeholders drafted the policy keeping in mind concerns of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and Supreme Court such as stop the use of perennially installed semi-permanent pandals, nuisance of parking on outside road of the venue, safety of guests and general public, stop the misuse of scarce resources like water and stop any kind of pollution or degradation of Environment,” the official said. (IANS)