Khori colony: Mandatory ID proofs may deny residents govt’s rehab scheme, say activists
Even as demolition continued in Khori village in Faridabad, many experts and residents have expressed apprehensions that they may be excluded from the rehabilitation plan announced by the district administration as they have voter cards and other ID proofs issued by the Delhi government.
According to the Policy for Rehabilitation of Khori Jhuggi Dwellers, announced by Faridabad administration on Tuesday, residents will have to prove that the applicant’s annual family income does not exceed ₹3 lakh, and fulfil one of three conditions -- their name is registered in the Haryana’s Badkhal assembly constituency voter list as on January 1, 2021; they have an electricity bill from Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) in their name; and that an adult earning member or head of the family has a Parivar Pehchan Patra issued by the state of Haryana as on January 1, 2021. The residents have been promised ₹2,000 per month till they are allotted EWS flats -- in Dabua Colony and Bapu Nagar -- under the rehabilitation scheme.
“First the authorities were reluctant to provide any rehabilitation and now that they have announced a scheme, most people will automatically be excluded from it as we have ID proofs of Delhi. Some of those who will be eligible for the scheme have seen the houses they are being offered, which are in no condition to live in. Also, even before giving us a place to stay, the authorities have demolished our houses,” said Rekha (35), a resident of Khori.
Khori village is situated at the border of Delhi and Haryana, and with no clear demarcation, there has been a confusion since long regarding where Chungi (falling in Delhi) ends and Khori villlage begins.
Nilesh Kumar, a social worker associated with the Basti Suraksha Manch, an organisation working to rehabilitate the residents, said, “A majority of Khori residents hold Delhi ID cards, voter IDs, ration cards. They have been provided basic facilities like electricity, gas connection, paved roads and anganwadis by the Delhi government, and all their children go to schools in Delhi. Till 2016, disputes in most parts of Khori Gaon were handled by the Delhi Police.In 2016, the high court asked the Haryana government to decide on a rehabilitation plan as the land belonged to Haryana. But, under Delhi’s rehabilitation policy (DUSIB policy 2015), if people have been living in any settlement before 2015 and possess identity cards of Delhi, then they must be rehabilitated under this policy.”
Kumar said a survey should be undertaken urgently to identify households with Delhi ID cards and ensure their rehabilitation before their houses are demolished.
A group of social activists and scholars also wrote to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) on June 30, stressing on how the households in Khori are entitled to protection under the DUSIB Act, 2015, for relief and rehabilitation.
Ishita Chatterjee, a PhD scholar with the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, who has been studying Khori village, said, “It is a well-known fact by now that most of the residents possess Delhi identity cards. Since the Haryana government did not provide electricity, hence most households also draw electricity from Delhi. The current clauses make most of the residents ineligible for rehabilitation.”
She also pointed out that the Haryana government wants beneficiaries to pay a deposit, which is twice their monthly salary in most cases, within 15 days of allotment of the flat.
“So even among the very few eligible ones, many will not be able to afford it. Residents will be given a monthly amount of ₹2,000 to rent for the time the houses are not ready. The minimum rent in this locality starts from ₹8,000, and there aren’t enough residences to house all the displaced people,” she added.
The rehabilitation plan was also slammed by Balakrishnan Rajagopal, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing 2020-2026, who took to Twitter on Thursday: “Haryana government should stop hiding behind the Supreme Court! No court decision can justify forced mass evictions with such police violence and arbitrary detentions, all during the monsoon! Khori Gaon should be regularized or another human rights-based solution found.”
Mohd Waseem Hashmi (37), a resident of Vishwakarma Colony in Khori whose house was demolished on Wednesday, said, “I work as a tuition teacher for children in the village and used to earn around ₹5.000-8,000, but since we learnt about the demolition, I myself did not take money from the families as everyone is worried about finding a shelter for themselves, which is expensive at such a short notice. In such a situation, how am I supposed to pay the lump sum amount of ₹17,000. What good is the monthly payment of ₹2,000 when basic living expenses are more than that?”
Officials from DUSIB said that they have no information on rehabilitation of residents from Khori village.
DUSIB member Bipin Rai said, “Our department is not looking into this matter as the demolition is being conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad and not the Delhi government.”
Meanwhile, Garima Mittal, MCF commissioner, said there have not been any talks with Delhi for rehabilitation and that they will go ahead with the policy announced by Haryana.