About 29 acres of land is home to 4365 families. The families have been occupying this land in Banbhoolpura area near Haldwani railway station in Uttarakhand for decades. But recently the Uttarakhand High Court has ruled that the land must be vacated. Because the land belongs to the railway. It has been ordered to be ‘released from seizure’ on seven days’ notice. After that, the local residents started protesting. Now led by Haldwani Congress MLA Sumit Hridayesh, they have approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court verdict. The Supreme Court will hear the case on January 5.
Statement of the Railways
In the High Court hearing, the Railways said that the residents of the area could not show any valid documents of ownership of the land. But in a press conference, AICC Secretary Kazi Nizamuddin said, “They have been in the area for 70 years. There are mosques, temples, water tanks, health centers, two inter colleges and a primary school. There is a drainage system since 1970. Prime Minister, Railway Minister and Chief Minister are requested to look at the matter from a human perspective and stop this so-called ‘forced occupation’.”
Local residents (many of whom belong to minority communities) say such evictions in the face of winter will not only render them homeless, but school children will also be out of school. Nizamuddin also raised questions about the railway’s claim that the land is its own property. He said, “Part of this land was leased by the government. If the land belongs to the railway, how was it leased?”
Self-reliance, women empowerment: Modi’s emphasis on science-in-use
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on scientists to come forward to build a self-reliant India. Inaugurating the 108th Indian Science Congress in Nagpur yesterday through video conference, Modi said, “Making India self-reliant by meeting its domestic needs should act as an inspiration to domestic scientists.”
The theme of this year’s Indian Science Congress is Science and Technology for Sustainable Development and Empowerment of Women. Prime Minister emphasized on more use of science in women empowerment. “Nowadays it is not only our aim to use science to empower women, but it should also be our aim to ensure women’s contribution to the advancement of science,” he said yesterday. Referring to the two-fold increase in women’s participation in research, the Prime Minister said, “The increasing participation of women proves that both women and science are progressing in the country.”
The Prime Minister also emphasized on the practical application of science for self-reliance. In his words, “Scientific research becomes successful only when it is successfully applied beyond the confines of the laboratory to the real world. That application has a positive impact from the international level to the grassroots level and changes people’s lives.” Reminding the important role of science in dealing with the outbreak of various diseases in the context of corona epidemic, the Prime Minister yesterday emphasized the research of developing new vaccines.