DDA offers temporary house to tunnel rescue hero

| | New Delhi
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DDA offers temporary house to tunnel rescue hero

Friday, 01 March 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Hours after razing his house in a demolition drive, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) offered to move Wakeel Hassan, a rat-hole miner who was part of the Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, and his family to a temporary accommodation but he declined the offer. The authority has also clarified that removal of encroachments from its land has been a constant, regular and routine activity of authority, and they were no aware about his contribution in the rescue operation.

“However given the contributions made by Hassan in the rescue operation it will still continue with its efforts to provide its help to his family,” it said. Northeast Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari on Thursday also assured the miner that he will be given a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana very soon. Hassan’s house was razed in a demolition drive carried out by the DDA in northeast Delhi’s Khajoori Khas area. Several other houses were demolished during the drive.

Hassan has earlier said that DDA  officials also told him that he would soon be provided a house in the Govindpuri area but he refused to accept the offer as it was only a “verbal assurance”.

Standing by its action, the DDA later in a statement said that “in its role as an authority, it cannot allow encroachment on its land or unauthorised constructions in its development areas”. The DDA also said Hassan was aware of his house’s “status of encroachment” as it had been previously removed in 2016 and was encroached upon again in 2017.

Having come to know about the contributions of Hassan in the rescue operation in Uttarakhand, the DDA “extended its hand of support” to the family but it was refused, the DDA said in a statement.

The DDA, however, clarified that “at no point of time before or during the demolition exercise, were the DDA officials aware of Hassan’s role in the rescue operation in Uttarakhand. On Wednesday, the DDA said the demolition drive was carried out on land that was “part of planned development land”.

“Late in the evening, when this fact came to light, officials of DDA, after having made alternate arrangements for shelter to Hassan and his family, went on site and contacted him.

“However, Hassan refused to avail any relief measure so offered and demanded a permanent house either at the same location or at any location in the same vicinity. To break the impasse, Senior officers of DDA also intervened and went to the site late at night which was of no avail,”the  DDA said.

Some TV channels showed Hassan and his family sitting and having dinner amid the rubble of what used to be their home.He spent the night on a footpath with his wife and their two children. The family’s neighbours’ provided them with food and other necessary items.

“It is again reiterated that the family was in the know of their status of encroachment. Hassan was also aware of his encroachment removed earlier in 2016 and he re-encroached on the land in 2017.  However, this was a routine encroachment removal drive and DDA has not targeted any particular individual. Having come to know about the contributions of Hassan in rescue operation of the workers entrapped in Silkyara-Barkot tunnel, DDA extended its hand of support to the family which was not availed,” it added.

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