New Delhi [India] February 7 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the Indian Railways authorities and Uttarakhand government eight weeks' time to work out a solution in relation to the rehabilitation of the people who were asked to vacate the encroachments from railway land in Banbhoolpura area of Haldwani.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Manoj Misra while granting eight weeks to Railway authorities and Uttarakhand on the request of Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati posted the matter for hearing on May 2.
Earlier, the top court had said that thousands can't be uprooted overnight while putting a stay on the Uttarakhand High Court's decision ordering the State authorities to remove encroachments from railway land in Haldwani's Banbhoolpura area.
The bench had said that there has to be segregation of people who have no right on the land and the need for rehabilitation while recognising the need of railways.
Noting that people are living there for decades, the bench had said there should be measures for rehabilitation since the issue involves a human angle.
Indian Railways has maintained that this strip of land belongs to the railways. Their claim is that it is their land and they are not asking for rehabilitation.
The Uttarakhand High Court had on December 20 ordered the removal of encroachments from railway land in the Banbhoolpura area of Haldwani after giving notice to the residents one week in advance.
Led by Congress MLA from Haldwani, Sumit Hridayesh, residents of the area approached the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the High Court's order. Another petition was also filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan.
A total of 4,365 encroachments will be removed from the area. Those facing eviction have been living on the land for many decades. Residents had protested against the removal of encroachments from railway land in compliance with a High Court order.
The petition highlighted that the petitioners are poor people who have been lawful residents of Mohalla Nai Basti, Haldwani district for more than 70 years.
The petition stated that the names of local residents are entered in the municipal records of the house tax register and that they have been paying house tax regularly for years.
There are five government schools, one hospital and two overhead water tanks in the area. It is further stated that "the long settled physical possession of the petitioners and their ancestors, some even prior to the date of Indian independence, has been recognised by State and its agencies and they have been given gas and water connections and even Aadhaar card numbers accepting their residential addresses." (ANI)