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Last effort to save Little Tibet
Times Of India[Friday, September 22, 2006 08:16]
Delhi Govt, MEA’s Fresh Appeal In HC To Cite International Ramifications

By Nidhi Sharma

SEEKING A SOLUTION: Delhi government plans to interact with the Tibetan community (PTI)
SEEKING A SOLUTION: Delhi government plans to interact with the Tibetan community (PTI)
New Delhi - Caught in a perfect Catch-22 situation over removal of Chhang Town — the Tibetan settlement at Majnu ka Tila — Delhi government and ministry of external affairs (MEA) have decided to appeal to the court once again to grant reprieve.

In a recent meeting held earlier this week, it was decided that a fresh appeal would be made on the next date of hearing in Delhi High Court suggesting a middle path.

The meeting was attended by chief minister Sheila Dikshit, Union urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy, MEA secretary Shyam Saran and Delhi chief secretary Ramesh Narayanaswami. According to officials present in the meeting, the MEA is of the view that it would not be advisable to ‘‘disturb’’ the Tibetan refugees living in the settlement. Such a move, MEA expressed, could have wide international ramifications.

Earlier, the high court had formed a high-level panel, with Narayanaswami as the nodal officer, to look for alternate land to rehabilitate the Tibetans. The court had observed that as a part of Yamuna cleaning exercise, no encroachment could remain on the riverbed or near the river. The court refused to make an exception for the Tibetan settlement.

Delhi government, however, is not even thinking of looking for land to relocate. A senior official said: ‘‘We will file a fresh appeal. Another meeting has been called next week on September 26 before the next court hearing. We will have an interaction even with the Tibetan community. We will find a way out and tell the courts.’’ According to sources, dialogue with the Tibetans on removing encroachment and illegal floors are being held.

Members of the Tibetan Parliament will also be invited for the meeting. Speaking to Times City, Chokyong, a Tibetan MP, said: ‘‘We have been pleading to the court to show some leniency in the matter. We have been holding meetings with the government also. Let us hope that they listen to us.’’ Sources said that the Delhi government would put down solutions before the court. It would include a proper cleaning up policy, which would tackle the issue of building bylaws violations also.
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