Friday, May 6, 2011

HC stays demolition of hutments along Sabarmati

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court on Friday stayed the demolition drive taken up by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on the river banks of Sabarmati. After a gap of four months, AMC had on Wednesday begun a massive demolition drive on the Sabarmati banks. Till Friday, the civic body had razed more than 1,000 hutments in the areas under Ellisbridge.
Residents cried foul and alleged that AMC started its drive without notifying them. Many, who had been staying on the river banks for years, said AMC authorities had told them that houses will be allotted only to those whose names are listed in the civic body’s survey.
However, when the hutment owners informed the high court about the drive by representatives of the civic body, it interfered and stayed the demolition on Friday evening. Sources said that the court asked AMC’s lawyer to inform senior municipal officials to stop the demolition activity.
In 2005, residents on the Sabarmati banks had moved court and in the same year the court had ordered “no demolition without rehabilitation.”
“After the court’s order, a committee under a retired justice was formed with urban planners and representatives of Sabarmati residents. The court had specifically told AMC that before rehabilitating the hutment dwellers, it should not carry out demolition,” said lawyer Girish Patel, who is representing Sabarmati Nagrik Adhikar Manch, an association of residents staying on the banks.
AMC had later asked the court’s permission to raze down around 4,000 hutments. The court allowed it but only after rehabilitating the dwellers of these hutments.
“Confusion still prevails on the exact number of legal occupants and number of families rehabilitated. The court will be hearing the matter on May 13,” said Patel. Demolition being carried out under Ellisbridge on Friday

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