Patna: Residents of Nepali Nagar, a residential colony situated on the disputed Digha land opposite Rajiv Nagar on Ashiana Digha Road, heaved a sigh of relief. The Patna High Court in its verdict on Thursday declared the anti-encroachment drive, conducted by the district administration for Bihar State Housing Board (BSHB) last year, illegal.
It directed the state government to pay compensation of at least ₹5 lakh to the owners whose houses were damaged during the demolition drive, which left many local residents and police personnel injured. The compensation amount will be used to repair the houses damaged during the anti-encroachment drive carried out on July 21, 2022.
Also Read: Digha Land Dispute: High Court stays demolition drive in Nepali Colony
The high court gave this ruling after hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the residents. The court had concluded the hearing and reserved it for judgement four months ago. The bench of Justice Sandeep Kumar also dismissed the BSHB’s plea to take possession of the Nepali Nagar land and directed it to settle the dispute for houses built before 2018 in accordance with the Digha Acquired Land settlement act 2010.
There are around 2000 families, who have built their houses on 400 acre land, which the BSHB claimed its own on the basis of purported acquisition it made earlier.
Five major points of the High Court judgement
- The district administration’s action in Nepali Nagar was completely wrong
- People were not given notice, nor time to file appeal
- The houses on which the administration has taken action are not encroachments.
- The state government did not use Digha Acquired Land settlement act for the people of Nepali Nagar
- The residents of Nepali Nagar, meanwhile, greeted judgment by offering sweets to one another.
On July 21, 2022, the district administration team, accompanied by over 20 bulldozers and 1000 contingent of armed personnel, reached Nepali Nagar to demolish the houses built there. The team said that notice has been given to the people and all were living in illegal possession. The residents claimed no notice has been given to them and they have been living there for years.
Also Read: BSHB’s plan to build housing colony in Digha triggers violent protests
Clashes broke out between the local residents and the police over the demolition driver. Many policemen were also injured. Two separate cases were registered in Rajiv Nagar police station regarding this entire matter.
HC decision came after 10 months
A set of residents of Nepali Nagar had filed a petition in the Patna High Court soon after the district authorities used force to evict them from their houses. The High Court had issued a direction to stopped encroachment drive and ban new construction. Along with this, it was said that electricity and water should be restored in the entire area. Now after 10 months the decision of the High Court has come.