Top court to hear pleas against mega demolition plan in Uttarakhand

Thousands have pinned hope on the Supreme Court to save their homes in Haldwani.

Dehradun | Updated: 03 January, 2023 5:51 pm IST
A policeman stands guard in Gafoor Basti of Haldwani.

Several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Uttarakhand high court order directing authorities to demolish encroachment on the railway land in Haldwani. The matter will be heard on January 5.

Lawyer Sulaiman Khan said that the petitions were mentioned before the court for urgent hearing. “Some more petitions will be filed tomorrow, January 4,” he said.

Authorities are planning to carry out a demolition drive in presence of thousands of security personnel on January 8, a week after occupants were asked to vacate their homes.

Hundreds of people have staged protests against the proposed demolition, which, they alleged, would render 50,000 people. On December 28, residents launched a satyagrah against the drive.

More than 4,300 houses, schools, temples, mosques, and business enterprises will be affected by the action ordered by the high court last year.

According to reports, as many as 11 people have filed petitions before the top court for relief.

In its order, the Nainital high court said that the Railways is free to recover the cost spent on removing an illegal structure from the occupant.

“It will be open for the Railway authority, that in case, if they are forced to utilise any force to demolish the structure and to take in possession the property of the Railways, unauthorisedly occupied by the encroachers, the cost, which is invested by them in removing the unauthorised occupants, would be recovered from them as an arrear of land revenue,” the order reads.

Preparations are in the final stage to demolish illegal structures spread over the area of 79 acres in Gafoor Basti. A huge number of police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed to maintain law and order.

According to Kumaun range inspector general (IG) of police Nilesh Bharne, 14 companies of paramilitary forces and five companies of rapid action force (RAF) have been sought to be deployed on January 8.

“The force will reach Haldwani by January 8. Police are identifying those who could potentially try to disrupt the action. Social media is also being monitored regularly,” he informed.

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