Sunday, 20 January 2013

EWS Slum Koramangala fight against eviction and also protest in frontof BBMP office on 19 01 13

Today BBMP conducted a demolition drive in EWS Quarters, Koramangala, Bangalore. Residents fought valiantly against eviction and were lathi charged by police and some were taken to Adugodi police station. The demolition crew cut electricity lines and even tried to destroy the 5 bathrooms used by 1500 families! At that stage we militantly protested, sitting in front of the bulldozers. The demolition of many other homes was halted this way but the police repeatedly bullied the people saying "You are small people, we are here to protect the demolition crew who are clearing homes for the company". The bulldozers were gheraod but then the demolition crew were sent on foot with poles and hammers to clear the tin shed homes. Due to the small number of people who got to know and were mobilized in the middle of the day when many are at work, we could only prevent 1 demolition at a time and some demolitions quietly happened simultaneously in other parts of the slum without us even being aware. Several people are now without a roof over their head in the biting cold, many families with multiple infants under the age of two, sitting outside their former homes with a small set of possessions accumulated over 10-30 years of living here.

Tomorrow we will be fighting demolition on the ground (
Tin shed settlement opposite National Games Village main gate, Ejipura/Koramangala, Bangalore) and also there will be a simultaneous protest in front of the BBMP office with people’s organisations across Karnataka from 10.30 am. on 19th of Jan 2013.
Call me at 7760235234 for information, thanks

In 1984 BBMP built 1512 houses in Viveknagar, Bangalore and distributed them to Economically Weaker Section families in 1996. These G+2 EWS quarters were not provided basic facilities like water or toilet. Due to rampant corruption in building the quarters, the buildings started cracking after 5 years and collapsed after 7 years of allotment. Three persons including a child died in the building collapse and several were injured.
A committee setup by BBMP suggested that 21 of the 42 structures to be demolished and the rest repaired. But BBMP forced all people to vacate the buildings and demolished all the structures with an intention to handover the land to private companies. It is primarily because the people residing here were largely belonging to SC, ST and minority communities, daily wage laborers, that BBMP took all such decisions. Meanwhile, people (both allottees and tenants) were forced to live in huts with tin sheds for many years.
In a site where 3000 houses could be built, BBMP has signed a MoU with a private company to build 1640 houses (G+9 multi storeyed) and intend to distribute only to the original allottees. Already 22 acres of prime land has been given to the notorious Garuda Mall as a result of huge corruption from top to bottom. The company will be building the houses in 40 % land and build a commercial complex in the other 60% land. BBMP Officials have managed to reach a compromise with the EWS allottees and the company to completely evict the thousand and odd families living their without any form of rehabilitation, in spite of the BBMP promise of building in-situ houses for them. This is  clearly an act of land grab. This is nothing but an action of plundering the land reserved for the housing of Dalits and Minorities. The residents do not have the money to pay the advance of Rs. 30-40,000 required to live in even the smallest dwelling of a slum being daily wage earners, and this is the move of a government more interested in the well being of the already rich Garuda Mall owners than the EWS quarters residents who work as garbage cleaners, construction workers, domestic workers, and are paid next to nothing for their strenuous daily wage labor.
The EWS residents with strong support from various peoples’ organisations have demonstrated stiff resistance for this combined land grab enacted by BBMP and the private company.