DailyPost 2293

Finding a village where there is no encroachment, where the land records match with that on the ground would be the eighth wonder of the world. The various dimensions of encroachment / dispute, the country has been facing since its independent existence and even before that. The onset of the digital and modern tech methods of governance have not been able to find any reasonable solution to it, and we are forced to cling onto to rag tag documents of decades vintage, if not centuries. They too do not provide full proof solace and any bolt can hit you from the blue and throw you out of your dwelling and consequently your existence.

The recent order on Haldwani defies all logic where thousands of families who were living a legal existence find one day, that they have declared as encroachers and have already become so to say squatters. Whatever might be the reasons, the elected representatives are always conspicuous by their absence. Who would provide a solution? The clarion calls of great dedicated people joining politics for social service literally bites dust when you come across a group of this nature. Any government agency or a department reserves the divine right that they can remain silent on an / any encroachment, not know what their legal holdings are and can declare anything their own anyday.

The legal document / organization making this claim can up pick any record of any vintage and lay a claim to its ownership. What is the fate, utility and credibility of the maze of legal documents issued endless agencies providing legal seal day in and day out. Why can’t there be a limitation period for springing up such surprises? If all the government agencies who legally regulate each inch of land and all the utilities provided to legal residents never knew of this encroachment, then is not a mockery of everything that runs in the name of governance. Their legal documents have been declared waste paper by no less an authority than the High Court.

The government owner was not aware of its land for decades together and state and local self-government were all the jurisdiction and powers were vested and went on dispensing justice. There are endless varieties of encroachment which happen and are also made to happen for a variety of reasons. That story of paper governance we would leave for some other day, where paper is created to mint gold. The current story is the sordid saga of complete annihilation of human rights, right to life and livelihood. Right to life is not the governmental permission to breathe, but its dignified human existence. The way we create and handle encroachment is a travesty of what human race stands for, starting with justice.

Sanjay Sahay

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