The first residents of Khori Gaon basti were migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal who mostly worked as laborers at the mines in these areas in the 1980s. Between the 1990s and 2009 the Supreme court banned mining in the Aravallis and gave the Aravallis an additional layer of legal protection through a series of orders. Due to these orders, lands regulated under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900 (PLPA) are to be treated as forest land irrespective of ownership. Clauses of the Indian Forest Act are applicable on these lands and no construction can be done without permissions under the Forest Conservation Act. When the mines were closed, the residents of khori found alternate employment such as casual labour and daily wage workers in various offices, hotels, malls and gated societies, so now a days the residents of Khori Gaon are the working class of NCR.
So Khori gaon is a labourer-settlement area situated on a part of Aravalli forest area on Delhi-Haryana-Border, actually most of the houses of this basti come within the Faridabad district of Haryana, but here electricity was supplied by private-companies from Delhi. Till now, the rate of which was around Rs 13-14 per unit and water was supplied by private tankers.
On june 7, 2021 the Supreme Court reiterated its order of February and April 2020 to evict the Khori Gaon basti on the Delhi-Haryana border, falling under the Faridabad Municipal Corporation (FMC) jurisdiction. The eviction orders are premised on a set of cases heard in the higher courts since 2010.
It becomes necessary here to emphasize that in June 2020 a report submitted by the Haryana Forest Department to the National Green Tribunal in a long running case, numerous cases of construction violations on PLPA(Punjab Land Protection Act) lands have been identified. In Faridabad alone, there are 123. The Development Plans of the Faridabad Municipal Corporation indicates that land use is highly restricted in PLPA areas, several high-end commercial establishments like – The Taj Vivanta Surajkund, The Atrium (member of the Claridges Hotel Group), The Pinnacle Business Tower (owned by the Baani Group), and the Radha Soami Satsang Beas compound are in the neighbourhood of Khori Gaon. These buildings are also listed in the forest department’s report to the NGT. But they don’t seem to be threatened with demolition orders.
The Supreme Court concluded that this basti is an encroachment on the Aravalli forest land and so deemed it fit to order the municipal corporation to undertake evictions using force if needed. The SC gave an ultimatum of only 6 weeks to the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad and the Haryana Police to any how vacate the 10,000 houses(i.e. almost the entire basti) without caring about the fundamental rights of residence, electricity, water, and health, and rehabilitation of lakhs of people settled in the basti, due to which whole village is compelled to breath in a panic atmosphere. They are compelled to live with the fear that any time the municipal corporation’s bulldozer can demolish their houses. The residents there clearly say that whoever tries to raise their voice.. Haryana-Police picks him up from anywhere at any time and then after around a week, leaves him back only after being beaten up and by imposing fake cases on him in the various possible sections.
So in this sequence in order to vacate the basti the electricity and the water-tankers which was being supplied by private companies, now that too has been stopped since the last 3 weeks. The residents of Khori-gaon have been deprived of all the fundamental-rights to life and what a misfortune of the residents of Khori that the institution which is called the guardian of the fundamental-rights mentioned in the constitution.. now due to his order lakhs of residents of Khori-gaon have been deprived of all the fundamental-rights to life.
People are compelled to keep rotting there without electricity and water, and one by one watching their neighbors’ first and then their houses being demolished. Against this disastrous order of the Supreme Court, the residents decided to conduct a march from ‘Sarai-Khwaja to Jantar-Mantar’ on 22/06/2021, which the Haryana Police ended before it even started.
All the central government schemes like – the Indira Awas Yojana 1985, the National Slum Development Programme 1996, the Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana 2001, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission 2005, the Rajiv Awas Yojana 2011, and now the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana 2015, are all proved to be just fake promises to the urban poors, just as the Supreme Court judgments declaring housing to be a fundamental right remained on papers and far-fetched for the poors.
People of Khori don’t want compensation, they don’t want even rehabilitation. they just want to live peacefully where they are living.
_ Statement, Democratic Students’ Union – DU Unit