These families will have nowhere to go

These families will have nowhere to go

Future tense: The Kanakanagara residents are a worried lot as they face eviction from their homes where they have resided for over two decades. DH PHOTO

It is a lose-lose situation for thousands of residents of Kanakanagara at Jaraganahalli as they face eviction from their homes where they have resided for over two decades.

Caught in a tussle between the original land owners, the government and the Bank Officers and Officials Housing Society — for which the land was acquired by the government — more than 2,000 families now face the prospect of being thrown out of their homes as a court ruling has allowed them to be evicted.

The government had acquired 29 acres and 27 guntas from Narayana Swamy Reddy to allot to the Society for formation of a layout. The final notification was issued in 1986 but the erstwhile land owners challenged the acquisition.

In the meanwhile, they struck a deal with Umar, an “agent”, and quietly started selling the land to mostly immigrant, illiterate people. Thrilled at the prospect of owning property, most of them sold their land in their villages and bought the disputed land. A majority of the present land owners are auto drivers, painters, carpenters, manual labourers and domestic helps.

“If there was a problem, why have they provided us with all the amenities,” asks Subbarayappa, showing an electricity bill dating back to 1991. He sold his property in Siddapura to purchase a small site in the area. A labourer, he wearily says he will end up on the footpath with his wife and three children, if their house is demolished.

Venkatesh, an auto driver, has been paying betterment charges for his 17x24 site since 1992, but admits that he has not completed his registration.

He confesses, “I am not educated. I had no idea there was something wrong with the property when it was sold to us. Why would I sell my land in Anekal to buy it if I had to lose it,” he questions.

Despair

There is a sense of utter despair as most of them have been told it is probably the end of the road for them.

Matters have been worsened in this small community by the death of a youth on April 12.

Twenty-eight-year-old Manjunath ran a small business which suffered a loss. He was planning to sell his house and pay off the private money lenders he had borrowed from.

Last week, he received the eviction notice for his house and realised that it would be difficult to clear his loans. The very next day, he committed suicide.

“They (money lenders) are at our throats now. They know that the houses will be demolished and they come every day and harass us. What can we do? We will die if our houses are demolished,” cries Gowramma, a domestic help.

Amenities are aplenty in the area. In the last two decades, the residents have had access to electricity and even Cauvery water supply. The area, housing schools, colleges and hospitals, also boats of street lights and newly built storm water drains.
But finally, it is the house they will lose.

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