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The Haryana government’s order demanding the demolition of Khori Gaon Jhuggis is surrounded by multiple flaws. It would result in brutal violations of human rights. Therefore, the government should provide alternative land and reasonable facilities to those facing eviction.
- The Haryana government has ordered to break 10,000 jhuggis in Khori Gaon without providing any rehabilitation plan.
- Khori Gaon is located on the Delhi-Haryana border and comes under the Faridabad Municipal Corporation (FMC) jurisdiction.
- The demolition is imperative as the jhuggis are located in a forest area and the residents don’t have any ownership over them. However, the order is surrounded by multiple flaws.
Issues associated with the Order:
- First, it will put unprecedented stress on the residents, who are already facing immense uncertainties during the pandemic. Eviction may endanger the health, economic well-being, and lives of thousands.
- Recently, a construction labourer (named Ganeshilal) committed suicide on hearing the demolition news.
- Second, the order doesn’t extend to big high-rise buildings located in the same forest area. This includes The Taj Vivanta Hotel, the Sarovar Portico Hotel, the Pinnacle Business Tower, and the Radha Soami Satsang Centre.
- Third, it undermines the right to shelter under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as no prudent plan for rehabilitation is given.
- In the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation case, the Supreme Court held that it would be the duty of the state to provide the right to shelter for the poor and needy.
- In the Shantistar Builders case, the Supreme Court held that the right to life includes the right to have reasonable accommodation.
- Fourth, it violates India’s international obligation. The country has ratified the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights which guarantees a right to housing for all irrespective of income.
Apart from this, there exist other issues that make the situation worse for the poor dwellers.
Other Concerning issues:
- First, the cut-off date for rehabilitation hasn’t been updated by Haryana Urban Development Authority since 2010. The cut-off date was fixed as 2003 but since then massive migration has taken place in the state, but the date hasn’t been updated.
- Gujarat has a cut-off date of 2010 while Rajasthan and Bihar use 2009, and Karnataka requires just a one-year stay.
- Second, several of those residents who settled before the cut-off date don’t possess the requisite documents. Thus, 90% of the 10,000 houses of the settlement of Khori Gaon will be denied rehabilitation.
- Third, the multiple housing schemes of the government including the current PM Awas Yojana have not been implemented properly.
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- The Haryana government should do rehabilitation of the jhuggi-dwellers prior to their removal. This would involve
- conducting a detailed survey prior to the eviction,
- drawing up a rehabilitation plan and
- ensuring that upon eviction the dwellers are immediately rehabilitated
- The Haryana government should update its rehabilitation policy by learning from other states’ progressive housing policies.
- For instance, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board Act provides for a survey, removal and resettlement plan.
- Under this, removal is done only when land is required for a public purpose; else the jhuggis are upgraded and improved in-situ.
- An alternate house is provided if the family is staying in the jhuggi since 2015.
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