Sultanpet traders get 24-hour breather from demolition drive

BBMP men demolishing portion of a building at Sultanpet on Wednesday. DH photo

On Wednesday, the BBMP undertook a massive demolition drive in the densely populated Sultanpet area. But the drive was cut short as the sitting MLA from Gandhinagar, Dinesh Gundu Rao intervened to buy some time for the traders whose offices were located in the vicinity. The drive will now continue on Friday evening.

Major portions of about 70 shops will be demolished to widen the SWD that runs below the Balaji Complex in Sultanpet. “The drive began on Wednesday morning and had to be stopped as the traders requested some more time. We have given them 24-hour time,” said Joint Commissioner (West) V P Ikkeri.

The primary drive will go on for three days. Thereafter, the Palike will undertake a secondary demolition drive at the same location to widen the drains. “The decision for a further demolition will be taken in due course of time,” said Ikkeri.  
As a natural reaction, traders in the locality cried foul over the Palike being unreasonable and inhumane.

“We were served no notice and today morning they came and began the demolition. At least on humanitarian grounds the BBMP should have given some time before barging in like this,” lamented Shantilal, a trader, who uses the complex as a warehouse for his goods.

Towards the evening, trucks made their way through the rubble and emptied the complex of the goods that were stored by various traders.

The clearance drive comes in the wake of the BBMP Commissioner setting a deadline for the zonal offices to identify and clear the encroachments. Every zone has set up an assessment team to identify the encroachments and clear them. An initial assessment has found as many as 800 encroachments on SWD space in the City. Out of these, it is learnt nearly 400-odd have been cleared.

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