Faridabad: Govt flats allotted to Khori residents in shambles
After demolition of Khori village, the residents were offered flats made for the economically weaker section at Dabua Colony and Bapu Colony in Faridabad
The residents of Faridabad’s Khori village, which has been demolished over the past few months as it encroached on the protected Aravalli land, said on Monday that the government flats allotted to them under a rehabilitation plan are in a dilapidated condition and lack basic amenities.
The colony that came up illegally on 150 acres of Aravalli forest land was razed by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) on the order of the Supreme Court passed in June this year. According to a drone survey of the civic body, at least 6,600 houses had come up illegally in Khori. The residents were later offered flats made for the economically weaker section (EWS) at Dabua Colony and Bapu Colony in Faridabad.
Most of these flats, constructed for slum dwellers, have been lying unused for over 10 years, officials from the MCF said, adding there are 1,776 flats in Dabua Colony and 779 in Bapu Colony.
An HT team visited the two colonies on Monday and found that doors and window grilles were missing in most of the flats. Besides, there is no power, water and sewage connections in the colonies. Heaps of garbage were found strewn all around the area.
Residents said that about 200 families have been living in the two colonies legally for several years now, but most of the other flats lack facilities. Some people have even moved into unoccupied flats and live without any civic amenities, they said.
Some people who worked as security guards when the colonies were being developed 15 years ago said that thieves had stolen the water pipes, toilet fittings, window panes, and grilles. Cases have been registered but no arrests have been made so far, they said.
Shovran Singh (62), who worked as a security guard, said he has been illegally staying now as the area is not guarded and anyone can occupy a flat and live with the present condition. “Three people have been murdered in the area in the past seven years. The area is not safe for families to live in. We don’t leave children to play in other vacant blocks. Some groups come here for meetings in the vacant flats and leave late at night,” he said.
Ramesh Kumar, who moved into a flat because it was unoccupied, said that they have to pay for water as there is no connection yet. “We can’t even question or complain about it to anyone, as they will throw us out. I live with my family and drive an auto-rickshaw to make ends meet. It’s a free shelter for us,” he said.
There are residents like Kumar who said that they don’t come out of their flats after 7pm. The children are not even allowed to play outside the clusters, they said.
Some children who were playing in a ground said that they are allowed to play only till 2pm. “My parents fear that someone will kidnap me from here as several such incidents have been reported,” said a 13-year-old boy who lives with his parents in Dabua Colony for the past over 10 years.
Balraj Sharma, who works as a driver and has occupied a flat illegally, said that the area has no facility but is for free due to which he along with his family lives here. “Except 202 families, the rest are living here illegally. There is no light so we cook in the afternoon for both times and sleep by 7pm. We often hear tiffs and scuffles but we don’t go out. People who are in dire need of shelter can manage to stay here as we did with help of a few other families,” he said.
According to the MCF officials, they counted 6,664 roofs when they did an aerial survey before the demolition of Khori village. “Our e-portal has 5,011 applications for the rehabilitation scheme, and we have provisionally accepted 1,178,” said an officer.
Yashpal Yadav, municipal commissioner, Faridabad, said as per the plan, a family is considered eligible for allotment of flat if the income of the family does not exceed ₹3 lakh annually, and the name of the head of the family should be on the voters’ list of the Badkhal assembly constituency of Haryana as of January 1, 2021.
The officials said that any slum dweller from Khori village under the prescribed criteria will be given a flat worth ₹3,77,300. Initially, ₹17,000 has to be deposited for the flat allotment and after that an amount of ₹2,500 will have to be given in monthly instalments for 15 years, they said.
Dwellers from Khori who were evicted said they are presently staying on rent in other areas and paying ₹4,000 a month.
Some people who visited Dabua Colony on Monday were carrying their allotment letters and flat numbers but were shocked to find the dilapidated condition of their flats.
“The MCF is asking to pay ₹17,000 as down payment but we are left with no money as we could not work for months due to the demolition drive. If we don’t pay, we will not get the flat. But even if we pay, we cannot stay here and it will take at least a year to make this place liveable,” said Manjur Alam, a tailor.
Hadish Ansari, a resident of Khori for 15 years, said that he has taken a loan from relatives and ready to pay but how will he shift here. “I will have to start paying instalments the day I take possession, but at the same time will have to pay rent. The bathroom has been dug up by thieves. At least ₹20,000 is required to repair each flat. We are poor people and can’t spend such an amount on repairing works,” he said.
The municipal commissioner said that they have offered flats to the Khori slum dwellers but they are not ready to take possession. “The flats need repair and they will get completed in April 2022 as construction work is banned presently. We have found that there are nearly 900 families who have legal documents and are eligible to take possession,” he said.
Yadav further said that they have nearly 2,200 flats in their possession. “Though we have started cleaning the area, a lot more needs to be done,” he said.
Ishita Chatterjee, a PhD scholar from faculty of architecture, building and planning at the University of Melbourne, who has been studying Khori village, said, “It has been five months since the demolition, but the housing units under the rehabilitation scheme are in a deplorable condition. They are not fit for any human to reside,” she said.
Vimal Bhai, a social activist who has been helping Khori residents to complete their documentation and process of allotment, said, “The government first made the people of Khori poor by breaking homes that they built on land bought by their life earnings and then asked them to buy these unhabitable flats in the name of rehabilitation,” he said.
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