Save Khori Gaon (faridabad)

Save Khori Gaon (faridabad)

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Shah Alam started this petition to Human Rights Campaign and

About 60,000 people living in the Khori village, which is situated on the border between Delhi and Haryana’s Faridabad, have similar grievances to share. A recent order by the Supreme Court of India has directed demolition of ‘illegal’ houses built in the Aravalli forest range. This has spread fear among the residents who have also launched strong protests against the court order. 

However, as per the latest news reports, the local administration is all prepared to start the demolition drive any day now. Section 144 has been imposed in the area and four duty magistrates have already been appointed, with another kept in reserve. Also, 10 teams have been formed, each of which have one “in-charge” and one police officer.

On June 15, following the Supreme Court’s judgment, an elderly man named Ganeshilal of Khori village allegedly died of suicide. Three days later, on June 18, a woman troubled by the demolition of her home attempted suicide. Both water and electricity supply to the residents has been cut-off for over a week now. Meanwhile, Colin Gonsalves, an advocate, has filed a PIL requesting an extension of the cut-off date for legalising house construction from 2003 to 2015, which will be heard on July 27.

The Municipal Corporation of Faridabad, which has been ordered to carry out demolition of the ‘illegal’ structures, claims it is following the court directions. “We are dedicated to complying with the Supreme Court ruling on Khori village,” Garima Mittal, commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Faridabad, told Gaon Connection.

What is the issue?
The Indian Forest Act, 1927, bars any construction within the forest zone and the Khori village lies in the forest zone of the Aravalli forests which are spread over 448 square kilometres in Faridabad, Gurgaon and Mewat districts of Haryana. Last month on June 7, the Supreme Court ordered the municipal corporation to conduct a demolition drive to clear the area. 

Khori village, which is in the eye of the storm, was gradually populated over the years when people from the states like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of Haryana migrated to the area to work as mine labourers in the 1980s when the mining of minerals was rampant in the Aravallis.

The supply of electricity and water in the area has been cut due to the Supreme Court’s order, and this has enraged the people.
Alarmed by overexploitation of the ecologically sensitive area, the Supreme Court had put a blanket ban on the mining activities in 2009. Thus, the mining came to a halt in 2009 but the people living in the Khori village continued to live here.

When the municipal corporation began taking action against the illegal constructions in the forest zone, the matter was brought to court. In 2010, the Khori Gaon Welfare Association petitioned the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek a ban on the move to demolish illegal houses. 

Another petition requesting rehabilitation was filed in this case in 2012. The Haryana government was ordered by the High Court in 2016 to decide on the rehabilitation of the residents of Khori village. The Haryana Urban Development Authority Rehabilitation Policy established 2003 as the cut-off year, implying that anyone who lived in this region before 2003 would be eligible for housing which is to be provided by the state government.


However, in 2017, the municipal corporation appealed the High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court.  On February 19, 2020, the Supreme Court ordered the removal of all illegal structures in the Aravalli forest area. Following this, over 1,700 houses were demolished in September, last year.

More demolitions are expected to be carried out in Khori village. While the residents of Khori village are concerned about their future, the Haryana government has stated that only citizens from Haryana would be provided housing after demolition. 

The villagers are also upset that hotels and multi-story structures constructed in the same area are not being demolished.
Residents allege role of land mafia in selling illegal land
Villagers told Gaon Connection on the condition of anonymity that the land mafia has settled people here in collaboration with the forest department and the police administration. The forest department’s land was sold fraudulently, and people were allowed to build their homes, residents said.

Gaon Connection also found that within the illegal settlement, there is a government-run primary school in this village which has been in operation since 1996.  The school has 84 students and a majority of them are from Khori village. 

Hadish Ansari, who resides in the village’s Bengali enclave, claims to have voted twice in the elections. Ansari expressed his displeasure with the politicians, said, “The political leaders won our votes by promising us the dream of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. However, the existing houses are about to be demolished, and no one cares about us.”

Ansari’s concerns are echoed by his neighbour Shah Jahan, who told Gaon Connection: “There is no food in the house, we have small children, and I do not have the money to get their TC (Transfer Certificate) to school . I’m unsure when the government will demolish the house, so our articles are kept outdoors and exposed to the rain. I have no idea about what to do or where to go.”

Electricity, water supply already cut
The supply of electricity and water in the area has been cut due to the Supreme Court’s order, and this has enraged the people.

 “My studies have come to a halt since the Supreme Court’s order,” Khushboo Kumari, a 19-year-old Delhi University graduate, told Gaon Connection. 

“All of the belongings are strewn about outside the house, making it difficult to concentrate on studies. There is no way to charge the phones for online classes if there is no power,” she added.

The villagers are also upset that hotels and multi-story structures constructed in the same area are not being demolished.

According to the municipal corporation, those structures and hotels were built with appropriate permissions. When asked if any action will be taken against the farmhouses in Faridabad’s Aravali forest area, Garima Mittal, municipal commissioner, said, “All unlawful structures that have been constructed would be penalised.

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