NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Railways said on Monday, September 14, that it will not dismantle any encroachments along railway tracks in Delhi without first availing a joint decision by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (Ministry of Railways) and the Government of Delhi. This comes after a Supreme Court order directed that over 48,000 slum dwellings built on railway land in the city would be demolished. August 31 order, the apex court had ordered removal of the slums within three months. It is estimated that around 2.4 lakh people live in slums in Naraina Vihar, Azadpur, Vihar, Shakur Basti, Mayapuri, Sriniwaspuri, Anand Parbat, Okhla and others.
The Northern Railways had submitted a report to the Supreme Court stating that the popping up of illegal encroachments along railway tracks was acting as a hindrance to keeping them clean. “The Railways has been taking all necessary measures to comply with the Supreme Court’s order in the MC Mehta v/s Union of India case dated August 31, 2020. Moreover, officials from the Indian Railways also hold regular meetings with all relevant stakeholders [the Government of Delhi (with the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board on September 5, 2020) and the MoHUA (on September 10, 2020)] to find means and ways to comply with the Supreme Court order.”
The Indian Railways further stated that no dwellings will be demolished without first consulting both the MoHUA and the Delhi government. The Railways also said that it has started a large-scale drive and removed 5-6 per cent garbage lying along the tracks till date. “Garbage cleaning will be completed within three months as given in the order by the Supreme Court,” it said.