Under the current conditions brought about by the emergency powers act in India, local authorities are taking the opportunity to make sure that illegal buildings and extensions in the streets of Delhi are cleared.
Under the current conditions brought about by the emergency powers act in India, local authorities are taking the opportunity to make sure that illegal buildings and extensions in the streets of Delhi are cleared. They have been helped by the drive to introduce an atmosphere of discipline in the still growing capital of India.
The new political situation has come as a boon to the city authorities who are responsible for regulating the traffic and expanding shopping areas. In the last few years there has been wide-spread encroachment on the public land in from of shops by owners building extensions. In some areas footpaths and pedestrian areas have completely disappeared under new buildings.
At the beginning of August, the City Corporation gave shopkeepers a week to strip down unauthorised extensions. Instead of resorting to their usual policy of delaying tactics, the shopkeepers acted immediately. Carpenters and masons went to work on the shops, and brightly decorated shows windows were quickly reduced to ugly piles of wood, bricks and plaster. In a number of places, entire markets were bull-dozed out of existence.
The unexpected success of the imposed deadline has saved the Corporation from doing much of the work itself. In one market area, where shopkeepers showed reluctance to comply, Corporation clearance squads moved in after the deadline expired on Sunday (10 August). The squads pulled down about 125 improvised wooden shops or "Khokhas" on the pavements, and about 276 shops with unauthorised projections were pulled down.
The result is that most areas in the older parts of the city now have a much more open appearance, the clutter of streets and bylanes has disappeared, and traffic is again flowing freely for the first time in many years.