For Jharkhand’s ‘Development’, Our Houses Were Reduced to Rubble
For whom is this kind of development?
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
My story dates back to 1995-96. The government abruptly announced that those residing near GT Road (in Barkhattha district of Hazaribagh, Jharkhand) had 'encroached' upon government land.
After further probing, the district office told us that we'd have to vacate 20 feet on either side of the road. Without any compensation, the government declared that the land is theirs, and asked us to vacate the areas. It has been 25 years since they evicted innocent villagers of the previous generation without any hesitation, and the local MLA also supported that decision to empty the houses without compensation.
Fast forward to 2002, the time of the Golden Quadrilateral highway program – when the same road had to be four-laned. Once again, we were at the mercy of what the government wanted and another 30 feet were cleared, of course, without compensation.
Only this time, the residents knew better. The government was trying to grab the land by fooling us.
After much deliberation, everyone from our village studied the documents of the land in question, and came to the shocking conclusion that the villagers were themselves the owners of the land – and we must fight to claim it. Finally, with all the evidence, we went to the High Court. All the stakeholders registered their appeal to the court and also submitted the document that validates our claim (The Quint is in possession of these documents).
After India attained independence, the government took a crucial decision on kesar-e-hind land. This decision entailed that whoever had possession of said land – whether it be central or state government – is the rightful owner of it. A notice for the same had also been released by the Bihar government.
The High Court did not deny the villagers owned the land, and a zonal officer was also appointed for the purpose. But when the village came under the rule of the then Jharkhand chief minister, they refused to meet us or give us our dues. To add to our misery, in 2013, a PIL that asked for rent receipts from the government in order to get compensation was refused by the High Court of Jharkhand.
It is unfortunate that the government has taken from us our land for the purpose of four- and six-laning, and in addition to demolishing our houses and shops, it has also denied us any compensation. We demand compensation at the very least.
Under the mask of development, our lands have been taken away and houses reduced to rubble. For whom is this kind of development?
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for them.)
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