The Delhi High Court has issued a directive ordering an NGO to vacate a Basti Vikas Kendra (BVK), located on public land in east Delhi, to make way for the construction of the elevated Delhi-Dehradun Expressway by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The court has instructed the petitioner NGO, Asha Community Health Development Society, to remove all its belongings from the BVK by May 14. From May 15 onwards, the NHAI will be permitted to proceed with its demolition or construction activities in the area.
The court has also ordered a meeting to be conducted among officials from the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), NHAI, and Delhi Development Authority/Railways to establish a timeline for the reconstruction of the BVK once the elevated corridor project is completed.
Justice Prathiba M Singh, in the order dated May 8, stated that considering the overall circumstances, the court is not inclined to grant a stay on the construction of the elevated corridor or the demolition of the BVK.
The case was brought to the high court by the NGO, which claimed that bulldozers arrived at the BVK premises in the Gandhi Nagar area for demolition on April 27 without any prior notice being issued to them.
The petitioner argued that it was granted the premises by DUSIB for operating the BVK and objected to the demolition taking place without prior notice. The NGO requested either a stay on the demolition or an alternate site allocation.
The counsel representing DUSIB contended that the NHAI is responsible for the demolition in order to make way for the construction of the Delhi-Dehradun Expressway, which is a national infrastructure project. The BVK is situated on government land, and the petitioner has no right over it, according to DUSIB’s counsel. They also mentioned the presence of two other mohalla clinics and one Delhi government dispensary in the area to ensure that local residents will not be inconvenienced in terms of medical facilities.
The NHAI’s lawyer argued that the terms of BVK’s allotment clearly indicate that the petitioner organization has no claim to the land and is not entitled to compensation. The counsel further stated that the NHAI has acquired the area by paying over Rs 3 crore to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
The area is being utilized for the construction of the elevated corridor as part of the Bharat Mala Project, connecting Delhi and Dehradun. After the completion of the construction activity, the NHAI intends to reconstruct the BVK according to existing specifications, and the petitioner may continue to operate it if it can demonstrate a proper agreement with DUSIB. (With inputs from PTI)