Dilawar Nagar, a small forest village in Lakhimpur-Khiri district of Uttar Pradesh, went up in flames for the third time on the morning of March 18. An electric bulb burst inside one of the houses at about 9am and the fire quickly spread and engulfed the entire village as all the houses were made of straw. While a girl was injured and subsequently taken to the hospital and a few cattle killed, no villager was reported to have been killed because of the fire. However, all homes were destroyed and the villagers are now left without a roof over their heads.
Now the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP), which is a partner organisation of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), is appealing for financial aid to build pucca or brick and mortar homes for the villagers so that they can life without fear.
CJP Secretary Teesta Setalvad also appeals to various humanitarian organisations, individuals, lawyers and journalists to visit the area along with the All India Union for Forest Working People (AIUFWP) on March 24 in order to get an insight into the exact situation and to donate generously to rebuild lives.
Earlier, local authorities had visited the hospital and also assisted the villagers in putting out the fire. They had also provided some ration and promised financial help to villagers to rebuild their homes. However, the villagers feel that this financial help will be not be adequate for them to be able to rebuild their homes-and lives.
The residents Dilawar Nagar originally belonged to a village from forest areas of Pilibhit located 133 kms away from Lakhimpur-Khiri. Fifty years ago, their settlements got washed away due to floods. By an arrangement made between the district collectors of Pilibhit and Khiri, the were relocated to the forest areas of Khiri district.
In 2005 and 2014, the villagers experienced the destruction of the villages allegedly by the Forest Department, who the villagers claim just wanted to chase them out as the land on which they were living had not been allotted to the village. The Forest Department department allegedly dealt with the situation violently causing grievous harm to the villagers and their houses.
And though recently the villagers have been allotted a plot of land near the forest area, they are unable to move there in the absence of housing facilities. They have been awaiting any form of help for the construction of their houses. About 300-400 people living in the village, belonging to about 70 families are currently without a shelter. The temporary shelter provided by the authorities suffers from a lack of basic necessities. Apart from financial aid, food grains, clothes, medicines and other aid materials, the village needs a show of solidarity.
They need Pucca houses so that they don’t have to face the threat of losing their homestead. It is crucial that the local authorities and the government take an urgent note of this matter and immediately initiate construction of Pucca houses for the villagers. CJP joins the villagers in their demand for Pucca houses and urges the government of to ensure a basic dignity of life to these villagers.
For more information on how you can contribute to make a difference, please contact : Rajnish Gambhir- 09899324429, Com. Roma- 09415233583, Ramashanker- 9415974672, Poonam- 9554745571