Labourers sans basic facilities in heart of Port City

The entire colony with 38 rented houses have only one toilet and a bathroom!

Situated within two kiloemtre radius in the heart of Mangalore city, is a colony in Milagres ward near Attavar where poor labourers live in a rented houses without basic facilities including electricity. 

The people living in 38 houses are going through a harrowing experience. Sewage containing drainage waste, waste from the hotels, surges out from storm water drain and floods the houses when it rains.

 The colony stinks of sewage during summer and health hazards stare at the hapless residents. The residents say that wastewater from high rise buildings and railways flows in the storm water drains. During monsoon, stagnation of rainwater and sewage in the open storm water canal generates a pungent smell that envelopes the entire colony. People say they are facing a disease threat with stream of sewage overflowing constantly. 

According to Corporator A C Vinayraj, “the city corporation is not in a position to develop the colony as the entire land belongs to the Railways. Though late Sundar Poojary had constructed the rented houses, each not more than 50 to 100 square feet in area, his son-in-law has been collecting the rent from the inmates promptly without providing basic facilities.” 

The entire colony with 38 rented houses have only one toilet and a bathroom, which was constructed when Jacintha Alfred was the corporator. However, the toilet and bathroom did not have electricity till recently. 

Arjun, a resident said “only half of the houses have electricity connections. The remaining depend on kerosene lamps and spend their nights. A few residents received electricity connections a year ago. Those who have received electricity connections, their rent for the houses has increased from Rs 300 to Rs 500, which is a burden on us,” he said. 

A BBM graduate of the colony said, “my grandmother was born and brought up in this colony. The houses in the colony must be over 60 to 70 years old.” The houses are also in pathetic condition and have not been repaired over the years. As there is a coconut tree in front of every house, the roof gets damaged whenever coconut falls on it. Hence, most of the residents have covered their roof with plastic sheets. There is a long queue to attend to the nature’s call in the morning in front of the toilet and bathroom. 

Aseema, another resident, said “the rent agreement for the houses where we are residing was done once. The agreement was never revised. We all have BPL rations cards, voter identity cards and Aadhaar cards. However, our woes continue. We are ready to go away from this hell if the government sanctions us atleast two to three cents land for constructing  a roof over our head.” 

Another women said, “I had applied for site under Asharaya scheme 23 years ago. However, I am still waiting for the site.” 

The Mangalore City Corporation can not construct additional bathrooms and toilets as there is no space for the same. “I have impressed upon MLA J R Lobo to distribute sites for all the 38 families in the colony in the land earmarked by the MCC at Kannagudde in Kannur. The MCC has acquired 12.25 acre land. The litgation pertaining to the land needs to be vacated in the court to distribute the land among poor,” said the Corporator. 

“Each house is provided with a water connection under Jalabhagya scheme of the MCC after I was elected as the corporator. There is one well in the vicinity, which the residents depend on when corporation water fails to reach the houses.”

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