BBMP demolishes 400 houses in one night

BBMP's earthmovers demolish a tin-roofed house on Saturday, in Bellandur, Bengaluru. (DH photo)

When they returned from school, their houses were gone. Crying in panic and searching for their parents around, the children learnt that the tin-roofed houses, which were their abode for years, were razed to the ground by the government on Saturday.

This was the plight of slum-dwellers after the BBMP demolished over 400 houses in Kariyammana Agrahara in Bellandur limits, claiming they were in the buffer zone of the rajakaluve in the area. Over 1,500 people were rendered homeless. While the men took refuge under trees, women and children spent the night in tents.

“We were not given prior notice. All of us work as maids, housekeepers and security guards and earn Rs 10,000 per month. We pay Rs 2,000 to the landowner. Where do we go now,” asked Fakir, a slum-dweller from Assam.

Vinay Sreenivasa, advocate and activist, said, “For primary rajakaluve, buffer zone is five metres as per the minor irrigation act and 50 metres as per the NGT order. Here, the houses are 103 metres away from the rajakaluve and 1.3 km away from Bellandur lake. So where is the buffer zone violation,” he asked. “I did a simple measurement using Google maps and found this out,” he said.

According to BBMP officials, the demolition was carried out due to lake buffer zone violations. The eviction was carried out to clear encroachments, they asserted. The Palike demolished the tin-roofed houses using earth-movers.

Most residents in the temporary houses are from Assam, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. A BBMP source said, “The people who have settled here encroached the land recently. We have carried out the drive as per the rules."

Mayor R Sampath Raj directed zonal officials to give a report about the incident by Monday. Speaking to DH, Sampath Raj said, “I have spoken to the officials and requested for a report on the incident. The land is on the lake buffer zone and belongs to the government.”

Dismissing allegations by the residents that the Palike did not give prior notice on eviction, the mayor said, “We had given enough warnings to them before the demolition drive."

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BBMP demolishes 400 houses in one night

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