The notice has finally come and the alarm bells have started ringing. Following the demolition threat, the residents of Majnu-ka-Tilla Tibetan refugee settlement in Delhi are a tense lot. According to sources, the settlement has been served a court notice informing them of the need to demolish all structures that comes within the area designated for the expansion of the highway and the Delhi government's much-publicised project for cleaning and beautification of the Yamuna river area.
The notice specifies that the Delhi government needs 300 meters of land beginning "from the edge of the river" which, in other words, indicates that the whole of the settlement which - has served as a commercial hub and a major transit point for exile Tibetans travelling in and out of India - would be reduced to dust if the Tibetans fail to turn things around in their favour. As for the expansion of the Highway no. 45 which runs parallel to the settlement, the notice said the expressway project would consume land worth 150 feet from "the centre of the road from either side of the road", sources told Phayul.
Efforts, however, are in full swing to obtain judicial relief for the beleaguered residents. Meetings are being held among the local authorities of the Tibetan exiles in Delhi including exile Tibetan parliamentarians and local leaders. It is not yet known what sort of means are being employed to help the residents out of the problem. Attempts to get further information proved futile as majority of those contacted refused to divulge the details saying the situation was too sensitive and premature to do so.
But a prominent resident of the settlement, speaking on the condition of anonimity, said the notice in question was served to the settlement collectively and thus could not be considered seriously. He also told Phayul that the notice must be issued individually to each and every family whose house would be demolished under the new project.