Ranchi, May 5: Two-year-old Sonu was frantically searching for his toy car in the rubble that used to be his home once. Unable to locate the object, he started wailing while his mother, Sugni, who runs a tea stall and also works as a domestic help, watched helplessly.
Tears flooded her eyes, too. Like many others, she was rendered homeless today, thanks to the anti-encroachment drive undertaken by the district administration this afternoon.
More than 20 dwelling units and around 50 makeshift shops, dhabas and cowsheds dotting the stretch between Kutchery Chowk to Ranchi University were razed today in the drive conducted by the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC).
The civic body collected a fine of approximately Rs 600 from the slum dwellers and the shop owners for encroaching on the stretch.
“I was mentally prepared for this, but still I was shattered to see my hut being reduced to debris. I am worried about my son but I hope he will gradually realise that we have been born with an ill fate. Poor people like us have no other option but to get used to such adverse situations,” Sugni said.
Like Sonu, another child Somari (8) (in picture) was seen searching for the remains of a book that she got as a gift a week ago. Her father runs a dhaba to sustain his eight-member family. And now with the eatery being destroyed, he does not know how he will be able to feed his family.
Rajesh Pathak, the deputy chief executive officer of RMC, said the drive would continue tomorrow as well.
“In the first phase, we will remove all the illegal dwelling units and shops on Main Road. Thereafter, we will gradually shift to nearby localities and other roads of the city. The steps are being taken at the direction of the deputy commissioner,” he said.
More than 50 police constables were deputed for the demolition job today. Traffic police superintendent Dadanjee Sharma was also present at the spot. “Today we pasted notices on several vehicles parked in the no-parking area. Now vehicle owners will have to run to our office to get clearances. Tomorrow, we will clear the area on the stretch between Kali Mandir and Sujata Chowk,” Sharma said.