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Hearths and homes gone, Ejipura residents have nowhere to go

Bangalore:Jan 22, 2013 DH News Service 11:00 IST

Slum dwellers face a bleak future

The belongings of the slum dwellers of Ejipura lay scattered after BBMP demolished their shanties in a special drive on Monday. dh photo
Heartrending scenes were witnessed at the Ejipura Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quarters on Monday, as the BBMP razed the last few shanties during the final eviction drive, much to the distress of the residents.

The slum dwellers were seen packing their belongings before bidding goodbye to their relatives and neighbours.

The huge sewage pipes placed on one side of the EWS quarters turned a blessing in disguise for many of the slum dwellers. They kept their utensils and other household items inside the pipes. A few of them were, however, content receiving their bio-metric ration cards.

Ramesh, one of the residents, said he would take a bus to Kolar in two days, along with his family members.

“I have been here for the past 15 years. This incident will remain etched in my memory. Three months ago, a few people got a grant of Rs 15,000 each from the BBMP authorities and were asked to move out. But we didn’t accept the money as we wanted to stay here. It’s all part of the corrupt political system.”

The demolition drive started by BBMP on January 18 has left thousands homeless. Lakshmi, one of the few who got their bio-metric cards, said: “I was told by BBMP officials that after one year, I will be provided with a home at Sarjapur by the Karnataka Slum Development Board. But I am in a fix right now and wondering where I will stay from today.”

A few people from the nearby Masjid Bilal Association claimed that in the span of three days, a total of 900 bio-metric cards had been issued to the people.

Those who have not got the cards have been told to submit photocopies of the forms and other documents at the earliest.

Ever since the demolition drive started, people have been sleeping on the roads and going without food.

Muthulakshmi, one of the slum dwellers, lamented the inhumane behaviour of truck drivers involved in the demolition drive.

She said: “They didn’t even bother to ask us to remove our belongings. Some of them even threatened us that they will crush all our items if we do not remove them. We do not know where to go and one of the house owners in the nearby locality said she will allow us inside her house only if I pay her Rs 5,000 - Rs 6,000 as rent per month.”

A few of the slum dwellers have become so helpless that they were seen selling tin sheets of their demolished homes and a few household items.

“We are paying Rs 100 per sheet to those selling them to us. This is the only way they can earn,” said Sharif, one of the roadside shop owners.

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah maintained that there was no question of accommodating the slum dwellers at that very place for now.

“I will meet the representatives from the EWS quarters on January 22. We will chalk out alternative plans for shifting them after the meeting.”

The BBMP has entered into an agreement with Maverick Holdings and Investment Private Limited to construct 1,512 quarters for the EWS and a mall.

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