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Residents of Khori Gaon demand speedy rehabilitation: ‘Living on the rubble of our demolished homes’

With almost all of the sprawling settlement razed now, some residents have scattered and are living in rented accommodation elsewhere, while many continue to live over the remains of their demolished houses, using tarpaulin or tin sheets of roofs.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: August 20, 2021 7:22:17 am
Khori Gaon, jantar mantar, Supreme Court, delhi forest land, Municipal Corporation of Faridabad, Faridabad, indian express, indian express news, delhi newsResidents of a house demolished in Khori village. (Express File Photo by Praveen Khanna)

More than a month after the demolition drive started in Faridabad’s Khori Gaon, some residents of the settlement reached Jantar Mantar Thursday to demand their speedy rehabilitation.

After the Supreme Court set a deadline for clearing encroachments on the subject forest land in Khori village, the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) had begun demolition work there on July 14. With almost all of the sprawling settlement razed now, some residents have scattered and are living in rented accommodation elsewhere, while many continue to live over the remains of their demolished houses, using tarpaulin or tin sheets of roofs.

The MCF has devised a rehabilitation plan for residents wherein they will be allotted EWS houses in Dabua Colony and Bapu Nagar. However, only people with an annual income of up to Rs 3 lakh will be eligible for rehabilitation. They must also meet one of three conditions – the head of the family must have his name in the voter list for Badkhal Assembly constituency as of January 1, 2021; the head of the family must have an identity card issued by the Government of Haryana as of January 1, 2021; or any member of the family must have an electricity connection issued by the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam (DHBVN).

The MCF has conducted camps for residents to register for the rehabilitation policy. According to MCF Commissioner Yashpal Yadav, around 2,300 people have registered so far but they cannot be accommodated for another six months. “We are in the process of finalising their eligibility. The flats are not in a good condition, so we have submitted a plan to the government to repair them; we will need six months to make arrangements,” he said.

For aggrieved residents, however, the wait is too long. “My house was demolished on July 24. That night, we removed bricks and rubble from the floor and put up tin sheets taken from broken houses for shelter. We have been living that way since then,” said Suneeta Devi (30).

A temporary help facility was established at the Radha Soami Satsang centre for those displaced by the eviction, but families like Suneeta’s said they have not been staying there. “That was erected for meals and to sleep at night on our own mattresses. They told us that we cannot keep any of our belongings there. It does not make any sense to us,” she said.

Mohammad Hadish Ansari (46), who works as a labourer, has found a small cheap room that he has taken on rent for Rs 2,000 in far-away Seemapuri to store the family’s possessions such as their refrigerator and television. However, they continue to live in the debris in Khori Gaon. “I can’t afford more than that, there is hardly any money left for food. I am just waiting to find out when we’ll be rehabilitated,” he said.

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