Thousands queue up for cheap homes

Police resort to lathicharge as crowd gets restive in Ahmedabad

Ahead of the elections in Gujarat, it is raining promises for affordable houses in the state.

After the Congress promised that it would provide cheap houses if it comes to power, the Gujarat Housing Board fiollowed suit and announced seven new schemes totalling 6,300 houses across the state. Police, on Monday, had to resort to lathicharge to controll the crowd, who had gathered to collect the forms  for affordable houses.

GHB announcement for new houses had come after a gap of more than a decade.

Interestingly, last week it was widely reported in the local media including the vernacular press that the form distribution for GHB schemes will start from Monday, which saw a huge crowd queuing up to collect the forms since early morning.

But the patience of the crowd ran thin when the office opened and officials showed no sign of distributing the ‘coveted’ forms.

Lathicharge

As the frustration grew among the people, police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd, and to thwart any untoward incident.  “I have been waiting here since last evening,” said Ratnesh Satwara, a resident of Naroda, who had come to collect the form.

 “But after spending the night in the open, now we are being told that there will be no form distribution today (Monday),” he added.

GHB chairman Jayanti Barot meanwhile said that the incident has happened due to rumours spread by some people. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Barot said that some people have played with the emotions of the residents and spread such rumours, which has led to the incident.

“I have already said that we shall release adequate advertisements in the media announcing the date for distributing these forms,” Barot said adding that the dates for distribution of forms will be announced later. “As of now, we have not even printed the forms,” he added.

Meanwhile, leader of the Opposition, Shaktisinh Gohil, condemned the police action. He said that for 12 long years, the BJP government did not think about houses for common man in Gujarat.  “Today, when people have expressed faith that the Congress will provide them houses, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has played a cruel joke,” he said.

“Had the government been  really concerned about the problem of housing of people why did it not build any house during the last 12 years?”

Gohil asked. Gujarat government should become complainant and register police complaint against those who instigated this ruckus and the policemen who indulged in lathicharge, he demanded.

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