Close to 30 families at Neelam Balaiah Doddi at Bansilalpet are a relieved lot. Their long struggle to ward off alleged ‘land sharks' came to an end with authorities notifying Neelam Balaiah Doddi as a slum area under Andhra Pradesh Slum Improvement (Acquisition of Land) Act, 1956.

A gazette notification was issued by Hyderabad district Collector, Natarajan Gulzar on May 28, 2011.

On Sunday, Vice-Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority and Sanathnagar MLA, Marri Shashidhar Reddy, who approached courts on behalf of the locals against alleged private persons who tried to evict them, said that soon houses for the poor will be constructed under Rajiv Awaas Yojana (RAY). “Since 1996, residents were under pressure to vacate their houses. Private parties pulled out all stops to take away this piece of land. The notification of this area as a slum is a boost for locals here,” Mr. Reddy said.

The residents alleged that they were under immense pressure to vacate the land and at one particular instance they were even attacked by hired goons. “They attacked our families at night claiming that they had Court orders to evict us. We were in constant touch with our Sanathnagar MLA who helped us a lot,” says Sankaramma, a resident here.

The Sanathnagar MLA interacted and assured locals of all possible support from authorities. “There are a few slums at Padmaraonagar, Musheerabad and Bansilalpet that have been identified under RAY scheme. There is a proposal to spend up to Rs. 8 crore to construct houses (ground plus two floors) for urban poor at these slums,” he said.

The notified slum is spread over 2,796 square metres and the market rate for the land is close to Rs. 30 crore, residents said.

More In: Hyderabad