SC directs Haryana govt to protect Aravallis from further encroachment

Delhi: 27 April, 2022 (Hindustan Times)

On March 31 this year, the court had ordered both the Faridabad municipal commissioner and the superintendent of police to ensure “the land in question is not misused or encroached upon in future.” 

 

The Faridabad municipal authority, which cleared slums spread across 150 acres of forest land last year, informed the court about squatters overrunning the land.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Haryana government to protect the Aravallis from further encroachment after the Faridabad municipal authority, which cleared slums spread across 150 acres of forest land last year, informed the court about squatters overrunning the land.

A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, AS Oka and CT Ravikumar directed the Haryana home secretary to extend all logistical support to the officers of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF). Simultaneously, the bench ordered the secretary, forests department, to carry out plantation on the area where encroachments were removed.

The order said, “We are informed that the corporation is unable to take follow up steps owing to security reasons. In that case, MCF may make suitable request for police protection to concerned authorities. The secretary, home department, state of Haryana, is directed to ensure all logistical support is extended by police department as requested by MCF.”

The matter will be heard next on May 10.

Senior advocate Arun Bharadwaj, appearing for MCF, informed the court that the demolition of the slums on the 150-acre plot in Lakkarpur village was completed in August last year. However, the rubble is still lying at the site which the corporation is finding difficult to remove due to local resistance. He requested police protection for the MCF officials and for a dedicated police beat box to be installed in the area to monitor further encroachment. 

For Haryana, additional advocate general Ruchi Kohli said that state was taking action against encroachments on the forest land. However, the status report filed by MCF in the court said, “The corporation is regularly carrying out drives on the corporation land in Lakkarpur village, the latest drive being carried out on April 21 and 22, to remove new temporary shades with tarpaulin cover in association with the district administration and local police.”

“The demolition waste from some of the corporation land has already been lifted by the MCF…However, the officials are facing stiff resistance, while lifting the demolition waste, from some miscreants from the said land,” the report said. Bharadwaj said that the corporation is also constructing a boundary wall around the land for which tendering process has been initiated.

On March 31 this year, the court had ordered both the Faridabad municipal commissioner and the superintendent of police to ensure “the land in question is not misused or encroached upon in future.” The court also directed the state government to speed up redevelopment or afforestation in the area.

In a separate order on February 19, 2021, the court directed the removal of encroachments on Aravalli forest land in Khori Gaon. For the evictees, the state government and the civic body introduced the “Housing Plan for Rehabilitation of Khori Jhuggi Dwellers” under which alternate housing was to be provided for eligible applicants.

The municipal authority informed the court that 1,009 applicants were found eligible for allotment of alternate housing at Dabua Colony and Bapu Nagar in Faridabad, and that the allotment letters will commence from the end of this month.

The bench ordered the state government to issue certificates of structural stability and habitability before it starts giving possession of the flats, after the Sanjay Parikh, the lawyer for slum dwellers, complained that the houses were in pathetic condition.