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Palike's 'tacit deal' to render poor homeless

Bangalore:May 4, 2013 DH News Service

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to hand over land measuring one acre and 21 guntas in Ejipura to Maverick Holdings and Investments Private Limited, alleged members of ‘Forum Against Economically Weaker Section (EWS) Land Grab'.

According to information obtained through the Right to Information (RTI), the company which acquired the 14 acres 5.2 guntas of land after demolishing EWS quarters, would get additional land, said Isaac Arul Selva, Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

The RTI query was filed on March 8, 2013. “Even after I filed an RTI application, the BBMP did not respond to the queries. Hence I filed two more applications under RTI on April 16 and on May 2. I went to collect the documents from the BBMP engineer-in-chief office.

“The review petition with regard to the acquisition of 14 acres and 5.2 guntas by Maverick Holdings is still pending before the High Court. Yet, the Palike has decided to hand over an additional land in the EWS quarters site,” Selva told mediapersons here on Saturday.†

The topography survey report procured along with the documents showed that the land to be handed over includes two important structures, Koramangala Primary Health Centre (PHC) and the Marenahalli slum quarters which has around 92† houses built after the Pourakarmika quarters collapsed in Marenahalli, JP Nagar, in 1996.

The Koramangala PHC caters to healthcare of around eight slums nearby, including Lakshman Rao Nagar, Rajendranagar, B R Ambedkar Nagar and Ejipura and if the land is acquired by the private company, the poor will suffer, said M R Prabhakar, convener, Forum Against EWS Land Grab.

Meanwhile, the residents of the Marenahalli slum quarters were not ready to believe that the Palike has decided to take over their land. All the people residing in the quarters are BBMP pourakarmikas.

“We neither received any notifications nor did we hear from anyone about the BBMP’s move. If it’s true, then we won’t give up the land at any cost and will go on a strike if the authorities try to evict all the pourakarmikas’ families residing here,” said 52-year-old Venkatesh S, a Palike worker.

‘Land will be acquired’

BBMP Engineer-in-Chief B T Ramesh told Deccan Herald: “The land will be handed over, but we have still not broached the topic with the residents. We will negotiate with the Marenahalli slum quarters residents in the coming days and take the next step.”†


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