The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 9 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Eviction drive hits protest hurdle

- Hospital encroachers shoo away officials

The district administration on Monday failed to remove encroachment from the land of Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH) in Patna City.

A team of district officials, 100 policemen, lady constables, labourers and five magistrates reached the area with bulldozers and fire tenders at 10.30am. But all of them left by 1pm without demolishing a single house, wilting under people’s protest.

“The drive didn’t go as we had expected. The house owners didn’t let us do our job. When we tried to evict those living in the slums, there was resistance. We did not use force. Else, things would have gone violent. We tried to make the people understand about the problem but they were in no mood to listen. We are yet to decide the next plan of action,” a district official told The Telegraph.

Sources in the administration said the state government should frame a counter-plan immediately to arrive at an amicable solution to the problem.

“Since 2009, the administration has faced resistance twice from the residents who have encroached upon the hospital land. Despite protests, the Supreme Court had asked the state government to submit a status report of the land by October 15. There has to be a way out,” another official said.

Almost half of the 81 acres of the hospital land has been encroached upon over the years despite the administration having the order to demolish 701 houses.

A case in this regard was first lodged in 2009 and Patna High Court had directed the state to remove the encroachments, including homes and slums. But no action was initiated and more land went into the hands of the encroachers. The case reached the Supreme Court in 2010. The apex court asked the state to do the needful and submit a report about the status of the land by October 15.

In the other part of the capital, the fate of Bhagwat Nagar residents is still hanging in balance. The “illegal” residents, who are protesting an eviction drive of the state government for the past 10 days, are not sure what is in store for them.

“We have heard that the district administration would deploy 2,000 policemen at Bhagwat Nagar either on October 9 or 10. If this happens, we will leave no stone unturned to force them out. We are ready to give our lives but not our homes,” said Saroj Kant Tripathy, the president of Adarsh, Bhagwat, Jai Prakash Nagar Makaan Bachao Sangharsh Morcha. Patna Municipal Corporation has to submit a report to the Supreme Court by October 31 regarding the illegal structures in these areas.

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