Women perform household chores at Raj Nagar Extension slum area in Ghaziabad. Photo for representation. | Photo Credit: PT

Allahabad HC restrains Ghaziabad Development Authority from demolition in Bhovapura Basti which came into existence before 1990

Dev Pal v. Ghaziabad Development Board & Ors, PIL No.1185/2020 | Allahabad High Court | Status: Pending | |

Bhovapur basti came into existence in 1990, when migrant labours from Bihar and other states, Unable to find themselves an occupation took to rag picking today, it has about 300 hutments and most residents continue to be rag pickers, barely also to eke out a living. The residents are possession of documents proving their residence , such as voter ID card, Aadhar Card, Ration Card, etc. Bhovapur slum dwellers have long been harassed by the state authorities. In 2015 and then in 2017, respondents severely damaged their houses. At great personal expense, residents repaired their makeshift hutments and continued to live there.

On 30.09.2020 at about 10:30 am the District magistrate visited the Basti with also 25 -30 policemen and other officials and three bulldozes. Residents were given no warring whatsoever and the officials started the demolition. About 250 houses were damaged. Residents were prevented from approaching their hutments, and so their belongings were also damaged.

In many instances locked houses, of labourers  who had moved to their villages out of migrant labour  moment crisis during pandemic , were also damaged , and along with the slum dwellers’ belongings. The   debris and the belonging buried underwater was loaded on to dumper truly and taken away. Residents lost almost all of their meager home articles such a TVs, refrigerator, iron, cloths, books and school bags of the residents. 

A second demolition drive was undertaken on 09.10.2020 and few more home were damage. Residents pear that the authorities may demolish the entire Slum in next few days and evict the slum dwellers from the site. Respondents have undertaken no rehabilitation of the petitioner slum dwellers. Residents would not only be rendered Homeless but would not be able carry on their occupation. They would be in dire circumstances.

In demolition , as house residents would be fared to more around in the state of UP without shelter, They would be not only vulnerable  themselves to the Covid-19 virus , but by inadvertently Acting a carriers Would the vast amount of UP population vulnerable the  imminent outbreak would also overwhelms the public health infrastructure to the detriment. 

HRLN Uttar Pradesh unit represented the residents of Bhovapura Basti before the Hon Allahabad High Court. Counsel for the residents prayed before the Hon High Court to direct the Government agencies not undertake any further demolition and or eviction of residents at  Basti  behind Radisson blue hotel,  koshambi,  Ghaziabad, UP as well as to undertake the complete rehabilitation of all the residents of Bhovapur Basti  behind Radisson blue hotel, koshambi,  Ghaziabad, UP slum

The Hon Allahabad High Court after listening the submission of the Counsel for residents of the Bhovapur Basti made the following observation and direction:

In view of the Proviso aforesaid, prima-facie we are satisfied that the Ghaziabad Development Authority should have offered a place to rehabilitate the residents of Bhovapur Basti before their eviction and the demolition of their houses. It would also be appropriate to state that when the entire globe is facing a pandemic, it is the responsibility of the State to protect everyone, more specifically the population of weaker sections from any hardship that may aggravate their plight adversely.

(i)   The Ghaziabad Development Authority shall not proceed with demolition of the houses situate in Bhovapur Basti till further orders;
(ii)  The District Administration, Ghaziabad shall provide temporary shelter to the residents of Bhovapur Basti whose houses have already been demolished;
(iii) The Development Authority and the State shall see to the viability of providing houses under the Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojna;
(iv)  All necessary arrangements shall be made as a temporary measure by the Ghaziabad Development Authority to provide essential amenities including light and water   to  the residents of Bhovapur Basti till further orders;
(v)   All necessary medical facilities are also required to be extended to the residents of Bhovapur Basti. 
Read order: