As many as 60 families near Gurgaon have been made homeless by the Commonwealth Games.
All of them had been living for decades on the land surrounding the big bore shooting range at Kadarpur village, just outside the Delhi suburb. But security concerns — and the road that leads up to the stadium — have forced them off the land after it was acquired by the Haryana government.
Take the case of 78-year-old Ram Singh’s 16-member family, which has been living under make-shift shelters after bulldozers razed their eight-room house about two months ago. All their household belongings are lying in the open, getting ruined in the incessant rain. Their 20 cows and buffaloes too are left with no shelter.
Singh’s 5,000 sq yards of land, he said, was with the family from 1962. After the government moved in and acquired most of that land, he was compensated with R10 lakh. A local realtor, Amit Ahuja, told HT the land would be worth anything between R3-4 crore.
To add to the Singh family's woes, they used the compensation to rebuild their home on the part of their land that wasn't acquired, but even that will be brought down. "They said it has for security reasons, since the players will drive past," Singh said. Apart from the roof, most of that second house has already been built.
Others whose land has been acquired also have complained the compensation is too little for them to do much with.
In addition, they have been told their milk-yielding cattle, largely the sole source of income, need to be removed immediately or they will be driven away.
"Where do I take them?" one of them asked. "This is the home I know, they know."
Scarily, Singh said he and his family are considering suicide as a real option.
"Otherwise should I go back to Pakistan, where I hope we will be allowed to live?" he asked.
Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) administrator Nitin K Yadav said all the land acquired has been compensated according to government rates and rules.
"In addition, we have also allotted them residential plots measuring 350 sq yards in Sector 51,” said Yadav. “Generally, the landlords whose land is acquired accept compensation under protest and always move the court of law that generally awards them compensation.
“The land owners in this case also can move the court and get enhancement of their land," added Yadav. But for the villagers who have been hit by the Commonwealth Games, that won't be an immediate solution to their very immediate problems.