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Uttarakhand model village may cease to exist after high court order

The high court order issued to the Uttarakhand government on Friday said Baggha village in Sarpuda gram panchayat in Khatima of US Nagar district, comes under reserve forest area. Many private and government properties on the forest land will be demolished, according to the order.

dehradun Updated: Sep 11, 2018 13:27 IST
Mohan Rajput
Mohan Rajput
Hindustan Times, Rudrapur (Uttarakhand)
Uttarakhand,model village,high court
A government building in Baggha village of Khatima that will be demolished after the high court’s order.(HT Photo )

A village in Udham Singh Nagar, which was enjoying thestatus of Sansad Adarsh Gram till Thursday, is now on the verge oflosing its existence following an order by the high court.

The order issued to the state government on Friday said Baggha village in Sarpuda gram panchayat in Khatima of US Nagar district, comes under the reserve forest area. Many private buildings as well as governmentproperties on the forest land will be demolished, according to the order, issued on apublic interest litigation (PIL) filed by Hoshiyar Chand, a resident ofSarpuda village in Khatima. At least 500 families, whohave been cultivating the land for the 40 years, will now be forcibly evicted from Baggha.

According to the PIL,since Baggha is a part of Sarpuda, with 50% Scheduled Castepopulation, most of the budget sanctioned bythe government for Sarpuda was being utilised in Baggha.Many developmental works arebeing carried out in Baggha village, instead of Sarpuda, due to its dominant Scheduled Castes population.

The PIL said Baggha shouldbe separated from Sarpuda so that it could benefit from the budget. It also pointed out that the land, where 500 families areresiding and engaged in cultivation, belong to reserve forest underthe Surai forest range.

The high court asked the state government to vacate 551 hectares ofreserve forest land from unauthorised possession in four months.Baggha village was conferred with Sansad Adarsh Gram status by the memberof Parliament (MP) Bhagat Singh Koshiyari in 2015. Since then, the village has been getting several aids for its development and government buildings too have come up there.

Dharam Singh Dasauni, a resident of Baggha, said: “The government allottedthe land in the 1970s. We cultivated the land and made houses with our hard-earned money. At a time when the government isrehabilitating Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees, we are forced to vacate our own land.”

“The court order has come as a jolt. Where will we go,” he asked.

Kharak Singh Gaira, a social activist of Khatima, said: “MP Koshiyarireleased Rs 40 lakh from his Sansad nidhi for making Baggha amodel village. Several developmental works are being carried out inthe village on priority basis. Villagers are in a fix after thecourt order. Government must find a solution.”

An administrative officer who did not want to be identified, said: “Weare yet to receive the high court order, so nothing can be said at thisstage. We will act once we receive the order.”

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 00:41 IST