It is very important that a full plan is created to address this crisis while keeping twin objectives of forest conservation and social housing at its centre.
By Manju Menon and Ishita Chatterjee, The Wire
Read the entire article at The Wire.
There is a housing crisis for the working class in these cities. Khori Gaon is a symptom of this crisis. It is very important that a full plan is created to address this crisis while keeping both objectives of forest conservation and social housing at its centre. Indeed, this is what conservationists and housing rights activists working in mega cities would want to see.
If the government and judiciary is interested in making Khori Gaon available for forest conservation, then it would be very reasonable to offer alternative land to the basti residents. But for this kind of collaborative approach to materialise, the state government must resist the use of force or coercion. Over the last five days, several vocal residents and activists have been detained, the water and electricity connections to the area have been cut and residents are forced to leave with their belongings. Section 144 has been imposed in the area. This is great injustice to bring upon anyone during a pandemic.
The urgency shown in demolishing the houses of the poor is unjustifiable. As one young woman residing in Khori Gaon asked, will you be able to grow a forest here in a few days or weeks?