Brigadier MB Anand, a 1971war veteran who also commanded a brigade during the Kargil war, has perhaps never been so perplexed in life as he appeared on Tuesday, moments after the Supreme Court ordered that his home along with those of many others in Kant Enclave in Sector 40, located right at the Delhi-Faridabad border, be demolished.
“After having served in the Army for 35 years, I shifted to the enclave in 2004 but not before taking advice from former chief justice of India AM Ahmadi (who also owns a property here),” said Anand, reacting to the order in which the court set a deadline of December-end to clear the land by demolishing all structures constructed after 1992.
“We are all law abiding citizens and not a single house here is unauthorised. I have spent my hard-earned money, took loan from bank to build this house and never ever expected anything of this sort to happen. The judgment is extremely disappointing and frustrating. We all have bought plots approved by the Haryana government, the building plans have been sanctioned by the government departments and all paperwork is in place, and yet we face the possibility of our homes being demolished. The government has to take steps to save us,” he added. He also warned that this vast place would become a crime hotspot if habitation was removed.
Like Anand and Ahmadi, there are close to 1,600 highprofile people who own plots in the enclave spread across 465 acres in the protected zone of Aravali range in Faridabad. Prominent among them are politicians from the ruling
party as well as the opposition, retired judges, retired defence personnel, bureaucrats and business tycoons. At present, around 60 families are living there. They all claim to have approved building plans, proper electricity, water & sewage connections, and they all pay property taxes annually to Municipal Corporation of Faridabad.
PK Gandhi, who retired as a deputy secretary in the central government and gathered all his retirement benefits to build a house in the area in 2001, said, “The SC order has come as a big blow to the owners like me. There are 670 electricity poles here and about 40 kilometres of road that has been built. It is the department of town and country planning of Haryana government that gave us the necessary approvals. In fact, over 350 out of 1,600-odd plots are already registered with the government. What is our fault? Where will retired people like me go if our houses are demolished? Will the paltry compensation amount be enough for us to build another house elsewhere?” he asked.
The SC imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on the company that claimed to have invested Rs 50 crore in developing the area. The court also directed the company to refund the money invested by people for purchasing plots along with interest at 18% per annum from the date of investment. For those who have constructed their houses, the court awarded a compensation of Rs 50 lakh.
The residents said that they would seek legal opinion in this matter. Haryana government officials, however, said they were yet to receive a copy of the SC order and would be not be able to comment on this right now.