No govt estimate of property loss in Delhi riots

10 months on, Delhi govt doesn't have clear assessment of property loss during Delhi riots

An RTI response received in March 2020 said that the loss of property has not been estimated till date, updates for which have not been received

Brick-bats are seen amid vandalised properties in Bhagirathi Vihar area of the riot-affected north east Delhi in February 2020. Credit: PTI File Photo

Delhi government appears not to have a clear assessment of the loss of property during the riots in February this year while one of the three sub-divisions in the district has said that it has disbursed Rs 6.72 crore as compensation to victims.

This was disclosed in RTI responses to queries filed by Madhya Pradesh-based transparency activist Vivek Pandey in March this year. He received responses between March 26 and September 8 this year while his wait for responses from departments to which the RTI was forwarded continue.

Pandey had sought the estimated cost of damages or loss of property in the riots that rocked north-east Delhi between February 23 and 26 in which over 50 people were killed and hundreds injured. He also sought details of money spent by the government for security arrangements at the protest site in Shaheen Bagh.

In his reply, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Headquarters) of the north-east district said on March 26, a month after the riots, that the loss of property has not been estimated till date. Pandey has not received any updated information about this.

While he had filed the query on March 4, he had received a response from the Karawal Nagar sub-division in the district about the claims for compensation it received and disbursed till September 2 this year while two other subdivisions Yamuna Nagar and Seelampur have not provided information so far.

According to the RTI response, the sub-division had received 1,712 claims for compensation, including 967 cases of damages to residential buildings and 588 cases of damages to commercial enterprises.

However, the authorities rejected 754 cases after inspection teams reported no losses in 463 claims while 255 were cases of duplication.

It showed that there were 15 cases of deaths in which one application, which is disputed, was rejected. Of the 967 claims on damages to residential buildings, a whopping 529 were rejected of which 350 were due to inspection reports showing that there were no losses.

Nineteen of the 112 claims for compensation were rejected. Five of them were duplicated while in 15 cases, addresses mentioned were not found or there were no documents of the medico-legal case (MLC) registered.

Out of the 92 cases of injury, 81 cases were processed before March 24.

Of the 588 claims for compensation due to damages to commercial enterprises, 195 were rejected. Here too, inspection reports showed that there were no losses in 105 cases.

The RTI response showed that compensation was paid in 785 cases while sanction to release the amount was issued in 173 cases as of September.