SC seeks govt response over report claiming poor condition of demolished Khori village residents

Published on Aug 27, 2021 11:59 PM IST

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the responses of the Haryana government and the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) to a report by a group of lawyers and activists who, during a spot visit earloer this month, claimed to have found that the residents of the demolished Khori village were living in abject conditions with little food and limited temporary shelter provisions

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ByAbraham Thomas, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the responses of the Haryana government and the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) to a report by a group of lawyers and activists who, during a spot visit earloer this month, claimed to have found that the residents of the demolished Khori village were living in abject conditions with little food and limited temporary shelter provisions.

The report said that following the order of the Supreme Court to demolish the settlement that came up on Aravalli land, over 100,000 residents were “pushed and thrown into harrowing times”. With accommodation for just 150 persons at the adjoining Radha Soami Bhawan, the other residents are using the demolition debris and tarpaulin sheets to set up temporary shelters, it said.

This was contrary to the claims by the corporation that it will provide alternative accommodation till the state came up with a rehabilitation policy for them.

The team of nine lawyers and activists, mostly from Delhi, that visited the Radha Soami Bhawan on August 6, said it found that food was only occasionally provided, and that too not by the corporation, but by the Bhawan officials and other NGOs. Residents told them that the police had stopped an NGO from supplying food, and that due to the torrential rain and absence of toilets, they often fell ill, the team claimed.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for some of the affected residents presented the report to the court saying, “It is a shocking state of affairs.” He said that all MCF and state government’s claims to the court of a rehabilitation policy were false.

“Most residents have refused to vacate the site as they have no other place to go. Despite heavy and incessant rains, most were forced to live at the demolished site itself, as the temporary shelter promised by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad was far from adequate,” the report filed through advocate Satya Mitra said.

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari asked the state and MCF to respond to the report by September 3. The next hearing in the case will be on September 6.

The MCF had filed a compliance affidavit in the top court on August 23 highlighting the steps taken by them after the demolition.

It said, “The corporation took humanitarian approach while removing the persons residing in the unauthorised structures and following all the mandatory COVID protocols. The corporation temporarily arranged for food, shelter, medicines, toilets, at Radha Soami Satsang Bhawan, adjacent to the 150 acres land (where Khori Village stood), which was made encroachment free.”

It further stated that cooked food is being served on regular basis from July 16 at the Radha Soami Bhawan.

Senior advocate Arun Bhardwaj who appeared for the MCF informed the Court that the “Housing Plan for the Rehabilitation of Khori (Lakkarpur revenue estate) Jhuggi Dwellers” has been finalised and will be placed before the Court.

Meanwhile, the Court also received another application from a woman resident of the demolished Khori settlement who said, “The facilities in the temporary shelter provided at the Radha Swami Satsang are woefully inadequate. The temporary shelter facility is a shed which is completely exposed to the elements, with a mud floor, and no partition for privacy of women and lactating mothers.” The Court directed the state to respond to this application too by the next date.

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