Despite title deeds, dwellings razed

25 shelterless families suffer biting cold

Despite title deeds, dwellings razed

Some 25 working class families are out in the cold, literally, on the hillocks of Arehalli near Uttarahalli, in the City’s west. Their dwellings have been demolished on the charge of encroaching on government land.

But, countering this, they produce title deeds and other documents to prove their dwellings are legal.

The Bangalore Urban District officials targeted their dwellings as part of a drive against encroachment. Using the police, they razed the dwellings earlier this week. Since then the families, comprising day labourers, have been left in the lurch. They cannot even erect temporary shelters as the police guard the area.

The drive against encroachment came about following some civil society groups raising a hue and cry against land grabbing in the area.  District officials zeroed in on 100 acres of forest land in Survey No 28 of Arehalli village where the dwellings had come up.

Manjunath, whose shed was razed, had a title deed dated September 22, 2006, registered at the Kengeri sub-registrar’s office. “I bought this site for Rs 1.6 lakh and have paid Rs 8,000 as stamp duty to the government. If the transaction was bogus, how could the registration take place?” he asks.

Another resident K Balaji has a similar title deed. He bought the property from Keshavamurthy. The title deed states that a piece of land in site number 50/A of the village bearing Khatha number 28 in Survey No 28 of Arehalli was sold to him.
Encumbrance and grant certificates have also been issued in the names of the title-holders.

“If the government does not recognise the documents it has issued, whom should we trust now? If a bogus transaction was taking place, why was the sub-registrar mum? If it was the handiwork of fraudsters, why did the government officials not act?” asks Balaji.
A woman who delivered a baby on the day of the demolition does not have a shelter.

A toddler, with a runny nose, is having to brave the elements. “All our hard-earned money has turned into rubble. Now, we are nowhere,” says an emotional Kashiyamma.

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