INDIA: Over 4000 families residing in ‘unauthorised’ colonies close to Haldwani railway station are staring at going homeless after the High Court issued a decree ordering the demolition of ‘constructions on railway land.’
Residents in Haldwani, Uttarakhand, receive eviction notices
Following the court’s ruling, the railway has been serving eviction notices to the residents in Haldwani since Sunday, ordering them to vacate the area in 7 days, which has prompted thousands of residents to take to the streets in an effort to protect their homes.
Officials from the Nainital district have stated that a total of 4,365 encroachments—which were illegally constructed on land that belongs to the Railways—will be removed from the region.
The residences and other buildings erected on the 2.2-kilometer stretch of railway land have already started to be demolished, said railway officials.
The Railway PRO of Izzat Nagar, Rajendra Singh, said, “The High Court’s ruling to clear all encroachments on Haldwani’s railway property was issued about ten days ago.”
“There are 4,365 encroachments, and tomorrow (Sunday), we will serve notice through local media. The occupiers will have seven days to move; following that, we will take appropriate action,” he added.
The state government asserted during the hearing that it had no authority over the aforementioned railway property. The railways also stated that anyone attempting to infringe on the property must have legal documentation to do so.
In a trial that lasted over ten years and involved hearing arguments from all sides, the court ruled in favour of railway. After the court’s order, combined teams of railway and revenue authorities carried out a drone reconnaissance of the encroached territory on Thursday.
Despite demonstrations from the locals, they began delineating the encroached territories. Earlier this week, large numbers of locals took out a candlelight march to register their demonstration.
They claimed that the demolition drive would make them homeless. Many of the occupants were born in identical homes that are currently anticipated to be torn down within the next 10 days, and other families have been residing in the illegal colonies for 40 to 50 years.
The Supreme Court has received a challenge to the order, and on January 5, the apex court will hear the appeal. Around 20 mosques, nine temples, and schools are among the encroachments, according to sources.
Asaduddin Owaisi, the chief of AIMIM, denounced the government’s move.
He tweeted, “Prime Minister @narendramodi: On the basis of humanity, the people of Uttarakhand and Haldwani should be helped, and they should not be expelled from there. What kind of humanity is it to take away the roof from the people of Haldwani?”
Uttarakhand’s main opposition party, Congress, has also opposed the eviction and accused the state government of not advocating strongly for the residents.
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