Aravalli encroachment in Faridabad: residents demand rehabilitation, action against those responsible

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After the Supreme Court on Monday ordered the eviction of thousands of slum dwellers encroaching on the Aravalli forest area in Faridabad district, residents are demanding temporary rehabilitation and action against those who sold them land he decades ago. As many as 10,000 homes are expected to be demolished as a result of the order, residents said.

Biram Kumar, a resident of the village, said: “The authorities carried out demolition campaigns in September of last year and in April of this year as well, but the people who live here are mostly those who worked in the villages. mines and have nowhere to go. After mining stopped, they started working as day laborers and construction workers, bought small plots here, and built houses.

“If the whole process was illegal, then the land shouldn’t have been sold to them. Now these residents have no savings and will soon be homeless. Authorities should take action against those who have been implicated in duping slum dwellers, ”Kumar said.

After 300 homes were demolished in April, residents of Khori village sought protection from the Supreme Court, demanding rehabilitation before their homes were demolished. On April 6, the Association for the Welfare of Residents of Khori Gaon also held a day of peaceful protest outside the office of Faridabad Municipality Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

The lands in question are notified under Special Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), which extends protection against land-use change to certain specified areas, forests and trees of Aravalli. According to Supreme Court guidelines, PLPA is protected under the Forest Conservation Act of 1980, which states that “no state government or other authority may, except with prior approval from the central government, make an order ordering or any part of it can be used for non-forestry purposes.

Nirmal Gorana, the general secretary of Bandhu Mukti Morcha, an organization which defends the cause of the inhabitants, said: “The orders of the Supreme Court must be respected by the state government, but they must first understand its responsibility. and provide temporary rehabilitation within two weeks, before demolishing their (villagers) homes.

“These people are already suffering the full brunt of the second wave of Covid-19 and many are losing their jobs and now, with this order, they will no longer have a place to live. We call on the state government to ensure the rehabilitation of all families in Khori village, ”Gorana said.

When asked if the rehabilitation would be provided to residents, Garima Mittal, commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad, said: “We will follow the orders of the Supreme Court. We are reviewing the details and taking action accordingly. ”

The official did not make it clear whether authorities plan to rehabilitate the residents.

Meanwhile, environmentalists hailed the move and said even on a small scale, encroachments by the Aravalli must be removed.

Sunil Harsana, wildlife researcher and resident of Faridabad, said: “All encroachments by Aravalli should be removed as they are harmful to the ecology. We cannot determine whether this will affect the poor or the rich, because environmental degradation is the cost we are paying here. “



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