Eight families are living with the threat of eviction from their homes in Maroli area of the city. There appears to be no relief for them as the houses are not in their names because they were granted to them by the owners of the land.
Residents of the area told presspersons on Thursday that they were living in small houses on a large piece of land which originally belonged to St. Antony's Institutes of Charity.
They said that around two years ago, the land had been transferred to Father Muller Charitable Institutions. In all, 13 houses are located within the compound, and five of them have been evicted.
Rajeshwari (32) said her family had settled there 40 years ago for rent. She produced receipts to suggest that she paid rent both to St. Antony's and later to Father Muller's. Another resident Joyce Rebello has gone to court. She said that three years ago the land had been sold to FMCI and that they had a rent agreement for 11 months after which the latter did not take rent from the tenants and told them to leave.
Irene Luwis (42) said that she was promised a particular amount by authorities at FMCI if she vacated the house. She said she had been paid only Rs. 50,000 but later they refused to pay the rest of the amount.
She said that paying Rs. 2,000 rent every month for a house in Moodushedde was far too expensive because she earned Rs. 162 a day by working in a coffee processing establishment near her house. “It is impossible for me to pay my daughter's school fees with so little. Let them give me another tile-roofed house,” Ms. Luwis said. She had supported herself and her daughter after the death of her husband 10 years ago.
Rajeshwari, another resident, alleged that three houses were vacated by scaring off the tenants. She said she wanted the present landlords to give her a house near her workplace.
Director of FMCI Patrick Rodrigues told The Hindu that the people living in the houses at present were “not the actual tenants” and claimed that original tenants had either given the house on rent or had given it to their relatives. However, the residents produced rent payment receipts in their names that were over 40 years old and also the rent agreement in their names.
Mr. Rodrigues said around five families had taken compensation and vacated the house.
However, when asked how much was paid, he said that the compensation “varied” from family to family even as he agreed that the size of the houses was the same. The rest of the cases were in court, he said.