Asansol Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA) – the state-backed urban development body to look after the development of the twin towns of Asansol and Durgapur had to suspend its effort to clean up the city of Durgapur yesterday (December 17). ADDA’s bid to demolish unauthorized structures in some parts of Durgapur town was thwarted after a state cabinet minister intervened.
ADDA officials had asked encroachers in Muchipara, Khatpukur, Bidhannagar, B1 more, Jelkhana more, Amaravati more and Fuljhore localities in Durgapur town through mass campaigning for quite a few months to either vacate the illegal holdings by Tuesday (December 17) or face mass demolition. These unauthorized constructions grew up in several years and ADDA during the left rule arranged for permanent market in Fuljhore more at nominal price for this illegal encroachers.
The ADDA survey and land officials had earmarked the unauthorised constructions across the identified stretches. ADDA chairman Dr Nikhil Banerjee on Monday held a meeting with officials to prepare a strategy. The officials, with the help of officers from the New Township police station, started demolition work in Fuljore and Bidhannagar localities which continued for nearly three hours.
Apart from several shops, a Trinamool Congress party office which was located on the ADDA land was demolished at Fuljhore. Boundary wall s of quite a few houses near Fuljhore locality were also put to ground.
Though there was no report of clashes but some of the owners of these temporary structures showed protest agitation with Trinamool flag.
Meanwhile, the ADDA chairman, received a phone call from the ADCP (east), Asansol Durgapur police Commissionerate. The ADCP told him that a state cabinet minister was asking police to quit the demolition work.
Dr. Nikhil Banerjee subsequently asked the ADDA officials to return and temporarily suspend further demolition work.
The call back surprised most ADDA officials. Dr. Banerjee later told reporters: “Since it was winter and the demolition bid would cause severe inconvenience to several persons the work was stopped temporarily.” He also added: “Some of the encroachers have given written undertaking that they will vacate the area in the next two months and if they fail to do so, the ADDA may further initiate action against them.”
This was the third consecutive time in the past two years that the ADDA had to suspend demolition of unauthorised structures on its land.