Jusco and district officials carry out an eviction drive near Rajendra Vidyalaya on Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)
Earth movers and dumpers rolled into Sakchi and Bistupur on Wednesday as the East Singhbhum district administration, with help from Jusco, launched a two-day anti-encroachment drive.
A company of Jharkhand Armed Police in riot gear stood guard as the demolition squad razed as many as 150 makeshift shops, cattle sheds and even houses near Rajendra Vidyalaya in Bistupur, MGM Medical College and Hospital and along the way leading to Sitaramdera bus terminus in Sakchi.
As the administration had informed the encroachers about the drive in advance, most shop owners and house owners were standing outside their establishments when the officials arrived. Some even pleaded with the team to spare them but to no avail.
The team started cracking from the Rajendra Vidyalaya area, where it demolished three shops and a 42-year-old house.
The squad also razed makeshift shops and cattle sheds that had mushroomed along the side of the road near MGM Medical College and Hospital.
Most shop and hotel owners had removed their articles and those who didn’t, had to face the ire of the officials.
The action then shifted towards the Sitaramdera bus terminus area, where all illegal establishments along the road were cleared.
Speaking to The Telegraph, sub-divisional officer of Dhalbhum Subodh Kumar said encroachments were removed from the roadside to ease traffic congestion.
“The administration had given us permission for carrying out the anti-encroachment drive in Bistupur and Sakchi for two days. However, no specific locality was mentioned. To determine where to conduct the drive, we had deployed an executive magistrate, who was in close contact with Jusco and identified pockets teeming with illegal establishments,” said Kumar.
He added that the demolition drive was necessary as the situation was threatening to spin out of control with each passing day.
“The shops that we cleared today (Wednesday) were eating into road space, causing them to become narrower and leading to congestion. The chances of accidents go up when there is too much traffic congestion on the roads,” Kumar said.
The cattle sheds posed another kind of problem.
“The dung of cows and buffaloes lying dumped at prime locations of the city is not only an eyesore, but also draws mosquitoes,” said another official.
The drive will continue on Thursday.