Explained: Why are houses being demolished in Faridabad’s Khori Village?

The Supreme Court had, on June 7, recognised the land on which Khori village is located as “forest land”, directing the MCF to “clear all encroachments” from it “without any exception”, within six weeks.

On Wednesday, the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) started a demolition drive in Khori village, with work continuing through Thursday as well. The action has rendered many people homeless. A look at why the demolition drive is being carried out, how many people will be affected and if there is any rehabilitation plan in place for them?

Why are structures in Khori village being demolished?

The Supreme Court had, on June 7, recognised the land on which Khori village is located as “forest land”, directing the MCF to “clear all encroachments” from it “without any exception”, within six weeks. Faridabad Police, MCF, and the district administration have, over the last five weeks, been trying to encourage people to vacate and demolish their homes on their own, also providing them with trucks and JCBs to carry out the task and take away the parts of the structure that they can resell. With only five days remaining for the deadline for clearing encroachments to come to an end, however, the civic body began the demolition drive on Wednesday morning.

How many homes are in danger of being razed to the ground?

According to a survey conducted by the MCF, a total of 5,158 residential units will be demolished in Khori village. The people residing in these are mostly migrants from states like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, who are employed in the informal sector, working as daily wage laborers, auto drivers, domestic helps, etc. Owners of the houses say they had built the structures after purchasing land for lakhs of rupees, with some transactions having taken place more than 15 years ago. Several residents said they have built the houses by doing manual labour themselves to save money.

Has MCF made any arrangements for rehabilitation of the residents?

The civic body, on Tuesday, released a ‘Policy for Rehabilitation of Khori Jhuggi Dwellers’, as per which people who are eligible will be allotted EWS flats in Dabua Colony and Bapu Nagar worth Rs 3,77,300. People who are allotted flats will have to make a lump sum deposit of Rs 17,000 within 15 days of flat allotment, after which they will have to pay Rs 2,500 in monthly installments for 15 years. Until these are ready, however, people chosen for the scheme will be given a monthly amount of Rs 2,000 to rent houses elsewhere.

Is everyone residing in Khori village eligible for rehabilitation?

No. As per the policy, only those people will be eligible who have an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh, and who fulfill one of three conditions – if the name of the head of the family is registered in the voter list if Badkhal assembly constituency as of January 1, 2021; if the head of the family has an identity card issued by Government of Haryana as of January 1, 2021; or if any member of the family has an electricity connection issued by the Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigarm (DHBVN).

How many applications has the administration received for rehabilitation so far?

According to MCF Commissioner Garima Mittal, a camp has been set up near Khori village where residents can sign up for rehabilitation. However, with only a day having passed since this was done, she said the civic body is still awaiting applications.

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If residents are not yet being rehabilitated, how are they managing?

While some residents have already arranged accommodation elsewhere, renting flats in other parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) such as Lal Kuan, others are choosing to stay put in Khori, even after their homes have been demolished, putting up plastic tents to create a makeshift shelter for themselves. Among those whose homes have not yet been razed, many are choosing to remain inside the structures, with their family and belongings around them, hoping for a last-minute miracle that will leave their houses standing.

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