About 45,000 residents of Rajnagar in Anuppur district are spending sleepless nights following an eviction order of the high court acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) which said buildings and establishments in the entire town are encroachments on the land belonging to Coal India Ltd.
Responding to a PIL filed by a former employee of the South-eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), a two-judge division bench headed by Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Alok Aradhe directed the superintendent of police (SP) Anuppur to execute the order after the company expressed its inability to evict residents.
The high court order involves eviction of thousands of people, which police say will be difficult to execute, as the residents have been living in the town for years.
"The high court order involves eviction of thousands of people and it is difficult for police and administration to evict them as they have been living in the town for years," said superintendent of police (SP) Anuppur Nimish Agrawal.
The SP said 120 families have already been evicted.
A delegation of the town’s residents met chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and requested him to take a political initiative to save them from eviction.
Chouhan is believed to have assured the delegation that he would discuss the issue with district and SECL officials.
Residents said the SECL never served eviction notice.
“My family has been living here since 1955 but now we are going to lose our house… SECL had never asked us to leave the place and never served us any notice,” said Jawaharlal Shrivastava, who was part of the delegation which met Chouhan.
"I don't know where I will go with my family."
The SECL counsel Vivek Rusia, however, said the company was evicting only illegal occupants from the quarters of SECL.
"We have taken time till December 1 for conducting the survey of illegal constructions. The demolition would start only after the survey," said Rusia.