A Look at Railway Land Encroachment Cases in India

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The Indian Railways claims to have 29 acres of land underneath encroachment in Uttarakhand’s Haldwani, the place near 50,000 individuals have been directed to be “removed” by the excessive court docket. The eviction order, stayed by the Supreme Court on Thursday, gave reduction to over 4,000 households, a majority of them Muslims, that reside on disputed land. The households, nonetheless, assert that they’re the rightful house owners of the land as they’ve been residing on it for over 50 years.

This is just not the primary such encroachment case associated to railway land. Here are another instances from current instances, which present how unlawful occupation is a multipronged situation in India the place the sight of slums, or jhuggis’, alongside railway tracks is frequent:

The Surat-Udhna to Jalgaon Railway Line undertaking in Gujarat stays incomplete as a consequence of unauthorised constructions on railway property for at least 2.65 km, mentioned the Supreme Court in December 2021, whereas listening to pleas raised in opposition to points associated to removing of encroachment from railway land in Gujarat and Haryana. The prime court docket was additionally listening to a plea associated to demolition of ‘jhuggis’ on railway tracks in Faridabad. In the Gujarat matter, 5,000 ‘jhuggis’ must be demolished in order for the railway line undertaking to come back up.

For the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet prepare undertaking, state and railway authorities had first tried to evict the residents of the slum dwellings at JP Ni Chali in Sabarmati space in 2018. The residents have claimed that they’ve been dwelling in the world since 1991 with migrants from totally different districts coming in, and that the inhabitants had grown to at least 70 slum dwellings with a inhabitants of 350 by 2021. In October 2021, the authorities mentioned 75 evicted slum dwellers weren’t entitled to rehabilitation. They informed the Gujarat HC that the evicted individuals can’t be thought-about as “project-affected” and should not entitled to advantages underneath the resettlement and rehabilitation coverage. The listening to was primarily based on a PIL filed by Ahmedabad-based commerce union Bandhkaam Mazdoor Sangathan. The National High Speed Railway Corporation Ltd had come for a survey in the world in 2018 and had verbally assured slum residents that they won’t be requested to vacate their land with out rehabilitation. The authorities had promised homes underneath the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or the state coverage for reasonably priced housing. But residents obtained a discover to vacate the positioning in February 2022 and, on March 15, the railway administration began demolishing the settlements. The anti-encroachment drive left 318 individuals homeless.

In August 2020, there was one other tussle in the courts about compensation points on vacating railway land. In this, the Bombay High Court mentioned the railways can’t purchase land with out arranging for compensation and rehabilitation. According to report revealed in Hindustan Times, the court docket was listening to a petition filed by Premier Ltd looking for a course to Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, to launch compensation quantity of Rs 21.71 crore for 28,672 sq m of the corporate’s land at Bhopar in Thane district. The piece of land was acquired by DFCCIL for the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, which is a particular railway undertaking over 1483 km from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to Dadri in Haryana.

In the winter of 2015, a toddler was killed in a case of alleged negligence throughout a demolition drive by the Indian Railways at Delhi’s Shakur Basti. A case of dying as a consequence of negligence was registered. Back then, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had mentioned no such demolition might be allowed with out rehabilitation. Even the Delhi High Court got here down closely on the ministry of railways and police for razing the slum cluster and directed the authorities to rehabilitate over 5,000 individuals rendered homeless in the biting chilly. According to information company PTI, the autopsy report of the six-month-old woman confirmed that she died as a consequence of shock and accidents on the chest and head as a result of influence of blunt drive. The report additionally talked about fractures in the ribs and head. The railways, nonetheless, denied the fees and mentioned the newborn died two hours earlier than the demolition drive started. Over 1,200 slum models have been eliminated in this drive.

In February 2022, it was reported that over 20,000 unlawful constructions on railway land delayed enlargement tasks in Mumbai. There are a complete of 24,500 unauthorised constructions on railway land in the Mumbai division, masking 57 hectares of land and in areas the place future enlargement tasks are deliberate. According to a report revealed in Times of India, there are round 13,839 such constructions occupying 37.29 hectares of land on the Central Railway, with most in Kurla, Mankhurd and Kurla-Trombay line. On the Western Railway, the variety of unlawful constructions are 10,572 and most have been discovered in Bandra-Khar belt.

In July 2022, a reply to an RTI revealed that temples coated over 57 % encroached land with the Agra division. Mosques and tombs illegally occupied 2.eight %, based on a report revealed by Times of India. The remaining space has residential areas and different constructions. The report said {that a} whole of 21,875 sq m of land was encroached upon, out of which over 13,233 sq m was underneath unlawful occupation by locations of worship or spiritual websites. The Agra railway division, which is a part of the North Central Railway covers 829.35 km spreading throughout 9 districts in Rajasthan and Haryana. “Not just Agra division, a majority of encroachment across north central railway are religious sites. Illegal constructions on railway property – for example, a temple on the platform at Raja-ki-Mandi railway station in Agra city – violate safety norms and significantly affect standard operations. With hardly any help from the state government and the local administration, railway authorities also avoid taking legal action against illegally developed religious sites,” an official was quoted as saying in the report.

In September 2022, encroachment at Dimapur railway station turned a significant situation. Under the Northeast Frontier Railway, the railway station at Nagaland’s largest metropolis has ranked under different smaller and newer stations. Illegal occupation additionally consists of spiritual constructions, and as a consequence of this a deliberate double monitor from Dhansiri is skirting Dimapur and being diverted by Dillai to Bokajan, based on media studies. There have been issues that no improvement can happen if the land is just not made accessible.

In a weird flip of occasions, the Indian Railways despatched a discover to Hindu deity Hanuman ordering him to vacate temple premises devoted to him in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad, final 12 months in October. The discover is instantly addressed to the deity and states that the temple close to Khatik Basti is an encroachment. The similar discover has additionally been despatched to some others, who claimed that they’d been dwelling in this space since 1921. Calling it “illegal occupation”, the railways has pasted a discover ordering individuals to vacate all homes of the locality.

In November 2022, the Kerala authorities recalled officers concerned in conducting a social influence evaluation examine for the SilverLine rail hall undertaking. According to a report revealed in The Indian Express, the state authorities began buying land for the undertaking in June 2021. Out of 1,383 hectares of land wanted to be acquired, 1,198 hectares might be non-public. The state witnessed large-scale and violent protests early that 12 months, fuelled by the opposition Congress and BJP. There have been issues that the undertaking was not financially viable and would result in the displacement of over 30,000 households. Hence, in March, railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Lok Sabha expressed that the environmental issues across the undertaking have been “real” as activists mentioned the routes of the Silverline reduce by wetlands, paddy fields and hills.

In December 2022, throughout an anti-encroachment drive in Roorkee, railway authorities positioned pillars outdoors now-hospitalised cricketer Rishabh Pant’s home to demarcate railway land outdoors Dhandera railway station. They performed an analogous train outdoors different homes, claiming that native residents in the world have been encroaching upon the land by utilizing it as a parking spot for autos and as a passage. The authorities mentioned individuals have been additionally dumping rubbish and cow dung on this land.

(With company inputs)

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