Special Reports

Poor rendered shelterless in Bangalore

The recent eviction drive which started on 18 January in Koramangala, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quarters and its related devastation manufactured under the garb of providing better housing for the poor without any alternate arrangements is a farce and tantamounts to denial of basic rights enshrined in Article 21 of our Constitution.
 

During this drive, 1500 poor families were made homeless without food, shelter, water and electricity. The cold weather added to the trauma.  With this displacement, about 2000 children are denied their right to education and many of them may not be in a position to appear even for the SSLC board exams, which are round the corner. Finding houses on rent is a big challenge for these poor people.

The land belonging to EWS has become a gold-mine since Koramangala real estate picked up during the last few years. Prices of this prime land have moved upward of 10,000 per sqft. Under the pretext of helping them, they have been inhumanly thrown to the footpath by using extreme force. Many protesting against the demolition were sent to jail and cases have been  filed against them. Conspicuously, media coverage was very poor.

As part of a joint development agreement that the BBMP entered into with Maverick Holdings and Investment, half of the 15.5 acres of the land will be used for the construction of 1,512 EWS apartments. The other half will be used by Maverick Holdings to construct a mall. Eviction of residents for the project has been stalled several times earlier with residents and rights groups staging protests, alleging that it smacks of a land scam.

Right through the day and night many families are staying in open space in a state of shock. The toilets and water connection was the first to be taken out creating a crisis. At least 300 poor families do not know where to go. They don't have enough means to shift their belongings and scores do not have the money to pay for the rental deposits. (More information contact Imtiyaj Kaji - imtiyaj.kaji@gmail.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2013 on page no. 13

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