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One dies during demolition drive

Staff Reporter

800 jhuggis removed in the Shakarpur area of East Delhi

NEW DELHI: An employee of the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department was killed when a pole fell on his head while demolition work was in progress at a slum cluster in the Shakarpur area of East Delhi on Saturday. Besides this tragic mishap, the daylong operation -- which saw about 800 jhuggi tenements being removed -- passed off peacefully.

The police said 42-year-old Kaushal Kumar was grievously injured in the incident which took place around 6-30 p.m. He was engaged in the demolition work along with scores of other workers when a pole came crashing down on him. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.

This is the first casualty in the spate of demolitions along the Yamuna riverbed. With the Delhi High Court having ordered removal of all slum clusters from the banks of the river by April 30, a number of clusters have been removed over the past fortnight.

In the past couple of days alone nearly 2,000 jhuggis have been removed from the eastern banks of the river. On Thursday, around 500 jhuggis were demolished opposite Samachar Apartments in Mayur Vihar I. This slum had come up during the past two years and was removed by the Irrigation Department of Delhi Government.

Then on Friday, over 800 jhuggis were demolished in the Shakarpur area by the Encroachment Removal Cell of the JJ and Slum Wing of MCD. The demolition had taken place in the presence of a large number of local police and Central Reserve Police personnel.

In keeping with the trend, on Saturday also the demolition squads were accompanies by two companies of reserve police and a large number of Delhi police personnel. In view of the urgency, however, the demolition, which began around 10 a.m., continued well past 5 p.m., which is the usual closure time. The personnel apparently wanted to clear as many tenements as possible till night fall.

The East Delhi police said the demolition work would continue on Monday as there is a request for deployment of more force that day.

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