Uttarakhand High Court Orders Eviction of 500 Families Living on Forestland

Reported by

Elizabeth ManiLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 8, 2021

Location of Conflict

Baggha

Udham Singh Nagar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

2400

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

223

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Uttarakhand

Sector

Conservation and Forestry

In September 2018, the High Court of Uttarakhand ordered the state government to evict the residents of Baggha, a village in Udham Singh Nagar district, living on forestland for more than 40 years. Baggha village was settled in 1975 on the basis of Tongia system in compliance with Government Order No. 3128/20 of May 1975 as issued by the Uttar Pradesh government. In 1984, Baggha was included in the Sarpura panchayat and in 2015, the village was conferred the status of a model village. According to the court, the village falls in the reserve forest area, says a media report. The order was issued following a public interest litigation by Hoshiyar Chand, a resident of Sarpura village. In 2015, political leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari adopted Sarpura-Baggha as a model village. The two villages share their border. During his four-year tenure as a member of parliament, Koshyari donated INR 70 lakh for development work in the two villages. The fund was utilised to create infrastructure, such as roads, water pipelines, electricity poles and a government college. Chand demanded that the budget allocation of Sarpura and Baggha should be separated to facilitate the development of Sarpura, where half the population is Scheduled Caste. Principal Conservator of Forests Jai Raj told LCW that as per official data, around 9,500 hectares of forestland in Uttarakhand have been encroached in different ways. In many cases, the settlements were made by the government, and people have been living there for decades. "The government cannot suddenly evict them because of some court order," he said. According to a media report, at least 500 families who have been living on the land will be forcibly evicted. According to journalist Sumedha Pal, in November 2019, the high court pulled up the government for not taking any action. Since 2019, the residents of Baggha village have been demanding the status of revenue village. Once recognised, the people will be able to obtain land rights or occupancy certificates. The demand for revenue village was also raised in the state Assembly in August 2020. Local MLA Pushkar Singh Dhami met the forest secretary in Dehradun and held detailed talks about it.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Forest Rights Act of 2006

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-implementation / violation of the FRA

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Uttarakhand

Case Number

WPPIL No. 106/2015

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Forest department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Baggha Bachao Sangharsh Samiti

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
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Documented By

Elizabeth Mani

Reviewed By

Elizabeth Mani

Updated By

Elizabeth Mani

Edited By

Elizabeth ManiLand Conflict Watch
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