‘Developer’s men offering families Rs. 5,000 each to vacate’
The fencing work around the land where the Ejipura shanty town once stood has begun even after Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar assured residents and activists on Friday that the remaining residents would not be displaced till the end of school academic year.
While the fencing work continued unabated, representatives from Maverick Holdings Pvt. Ltd., the developer, were offering Rs. 5,000 per family to vacate the land. Several hundred families, who were evicted over the past week, have already moved out having pitched make-shift tents using saris, bedspreads and pieces of tarpaulin on the footpath outside the perimeter of the site.
Mariamma, who called a tin-shed her home until recently, and her daughter, who is the sole breadwinner for the family, are now living on the footpath. “My daughter goes to work and I am left guarding our belongings. We are still looking for a place. We are living on the footpath with two young children,” she said.
The developer, who will be constructing flats for the 1,512 original allottees and a mall on the land, has deployed private security staff and barricaded the entrance to the land. Earthmovers were busy levelling everything in sight and pushing the debris to the periphery of the land. The huge water tank that supplied water to the shanty town and the small shrine of Mother Mary are the only things left standing.
The developer’s men are also going to the families that are still residing there and urging them to move away. One of the volunteers from a rights group, which is arranging for food, blankets and water for the families, said the developer’s men have been giving Rs. 5,000 per family and asking them to leave. This amount reduced to Rs. 2,500 per family by the latter part of the day.
The activists claimed the developer was taking money from the families to hire the goods auto to carry the residents’ few belongings outside the site. “Some are going to the nearby slums. The autos charge as much as Rs. 1,200 per trip,” they said.
However, the developer’s representative, who refused to divulge his name, claimed they were footing all the bills for the goods autos.
“We paid Rs. 5,000 to around 40 families on Saturday. Around 20 families still live inside. We will be asking them to move out by the end of the day,” the representative said.