'Why treat us like criminals for no fault of ours?

 There is just one question in the minds of the Banaswadi residents, with their future seeming uncertain.

“Why treat us like criminals for no fault of ours?”

This question by Rajashekar, a resident, perhaps sums up the predicament of the hundreds of house owners in the area. Rajashekar wants to know how sites were allotted to the people if they were illegal, that too in a layout formed by the BDA. “There are over 220 sites on which 110 houses have already been built. We all thought having BDA sites was a safe option. But in January, we were all served notices and were told that criminal proceedings would be initiated if we fail to vacate,” he said.

The residents here do not know whether their properties would survive. With no written assurance of any sort, they are shuttling from one government office to another, hoping for some assurance.

Uncertain future

Dr Rajini Agarwal, a retired professor, said that every minute, the residents lived under the fear that their buildings would be demolished. This anxious senior citizen said, “Each time we hear the sound of an earthmover, we rush out of our houses. We do not know if it will be our turn next”.

Rajini resides in Banaswadi along with her husband, a retired official of the defence ministry. “We are all retired people. If they now ask us to vacate the place, where do we go? It took us a lot of savings from 15 years to build the house,” she said.

The residents said that they had not received any formal letters. “They had pasted notices on all our houses,” said Felcia Vaz, another BDA allottee.

Vaz shifted base from Goa to Bengaluru with her family. “We chose to stay here as it is convenient for my daughters who are studying. Now, we are not even able to live in peace. Recent developments have left us with a sense of insecurity,” she said.

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