Not in our backyard: Residents to slum dwellers

Residents of a few apartments in JP Nagar I Phase staged a protest on Saturday, opposing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s decision to provide ‘temporary accommodation’ for slum dwellers at a civic amenities (CA) site.

The residents demanded that the Palike should drop its plan and take steps to develop a children’s park on the site located opposite the Sindhoor Convention Centre.

B R Janardhan Iyengar, who claims he is living in the area for the last 20 years, told Deccan Herald that for the past eight years, they were asking the Palike to develop the proposed park as the housing colony has a number of apartments with no place for children to play.

The residents alleged that every corporator elected so far refused to take the initiative. The Palike allegedly used the site for various purposes.

“Till a few days ago, garbage was dumped here and later, it was turned into a parking lot for a nearby convention centre. The Palike officials previously claimed that a bus stop would come up on the site,” Sampoorna, a resident, said.

Ever since the garbage was being dumped here, the area has become infested with flies and mosquitoes. A few residents have complained of skin allergies, she said.  

Conflict of interests

The residents alleged that the Palike has built a compound three months ago, making it convenient for encroachment by slum dwellers. “ We see foundation being laid overnight to build a makeshift shanty for slum dwellers,” a resident said.

Though the Palike officials said it was only a temporary arrangement for the slum dwellers, the residents fear that the Palike’s project may extend for a couple of years.  

However, the slum dwellers too have their share of fear. They contend that the residents’ protest may lead to eviction of over 50 houses of the slum dwellers a few lanes away from the CA site.

“They have houses and they can afford to protest. Where should we go?” said Harish, a student and resident of the nearby slum.

Some of them have resided there for more than two decades and the Palike had assured them of reconstructing the houses in six months.  

The residents of the settlement, a majority of whom are daily wage workers, fear that if they were shifted to places far from their present houses, it would be difficult for them to find jobs.  

“Many of us are construction workers and we have even told the Palike representatives that if they give us the plan, we will reconstruct the houses ourselves,” said Harish.

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