Demolished houses, shattered dreams

Demolished houses, shattered dreams

Caught unawares by the demolition spree, site-owners in and around the Banaswadi lakebed are visibly in a state of shock, disbelief and utter confusion.

Their faith in those who allotted the sites -- both private entities and government bodies such as BDA -- completely shattered, the locals wonder why they have to pay such a huge price as losing their homes. 

Some have had even their business units razed. Ironically, one of them was even given a lifetime achievement award for excellence in business. A part of his establishment is now in ruins, thanks to the demolition drive, although he claims he had all the documents to show the building was outside the lakebed.

Venkat Subramanya, whose ‘Systems Aid’ company manufactures equipment for the defence sector had no choice but to helplessly watch the compound wall of his commercial complex brought down.

He tried convincing the demolition squad that the plot did not fall under the survey numbers earmarked for demolition. But his efforts failed.

Echoing the chaos and confusion that prevail all around the area, he laments: “We are here trying our best to convince each official that this site does not fall under that survey number. There is some confusion. Yet, they are going ahead with the demolition.”

Scores of site-owners have met with a similar fate. Subramanya asks a counter-question on the demolitions: How did the government sanction water and electricity connections to the buildings?.

Why were taxes collected if the buildings were constructed illegally on the lake bed? “We have run the business for over 20 years now. Why have we paid taxes and betterment charges all these years then?” he wonders.

There are still many residents whose houses have been untouched. But they are all a worried lot, making rounds to various government offices hoping to get some assurance. A few others have left it for destiny.

Says Amith Nigli, a resident, “Debris are being cleared from the site where buildings were demolished. There is still uncertainty about what will happen to the houses. We will have to wait and see what suggestion would be given by the Koliwad Committee.”

BDA site allottee Shyam Sundar puts the situation in perspective when he says, “All that we know is what we have read in the newspapers. There has been no communication so far. We do not know what will happen. We can only hope that after the committee submits its report, there will be no adverse action.”

There is also a sense of insecurity among the BDA site allottees. A few days ago, residents of the houses built on revenue sites nearby had raised slogans in front of houses built on BDA sites that even their houses should be brought down.

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