They say pact between BBMP and Maverick Holdings is illegal
Residents of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quarters in Ejipura here staged a dharna on Monday opposing their eviction by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to facilitate the joint development of the land with a private partner.
They accused the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) of “illegally” entering into an agreement with Maverick Holdings and Investment Pvt. Ltd. for joint development of the 15 acres 22 gunta of the prime land.
As per the agreement, 1,512 flats for EWS will be constructed on one half of the land, while a commercial complex will come up on the other. The land, they claim, has been earmarked for the EWS, especially those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and minority communities.
Sathyavandan N., who has been living here for the past 16 years, said that originally there were 1,512 flats in 42 blocks, which were allotted in 1996. “Only a handful of the original allottees continue to reside here. Most of the original allottees, who have houses elsewhere in the city, have either sold, rented or leased out flats here,” he said.
Another resident, X. Luvies, who is president of Dr. Ambedkar Youth Social Welfare Association, said that the residents have been living in deplorable conditions for nearly eight years. “A few years ago, the BBMP itself gave them identity cards. The land must be utilised entirely to house the residents, including the shelterless who are renting out the temporary sheds here,” he said.
The quarters were demolished in 2004 as the blocks were in a dilapidated condition. This was after a few blocks collapsed in 2003, killing a few residents. Since then, the residents have been living in temporary tin sheds. P.S. Vincent Raj, a resident for the past 15 years, said that several politicians have visited them. “They only make false promises. They are only interested in vote bank politics,” he lamented.
Leading the residents’ protest, M. Venkataswamy, president of Samata Sainik Dal, questioned the original allotment itself.
He said that the Samata Sainik Dal would take the issue to the Supreme Court. The BBMP had erred by not taking residents’ consent before entering into the agreement.
Other than the 1,512 residents, there were 110 families who have come from Samata Nagar and 97 from Marenahalli. “What happens to them? How can the BBMP throw them out on the streets without alternative arrangements? The protest will continue till the issue is settled amicably,” he said.
BBMP Commissioner Rajneesh Goel said that he was in touch with the Police Commissioner in connection with the eviction.
“However, the police is busy with bandobast duty in the face of protests over the sharing of Cauvery water. So, once the police are ready to give us protection, we will take up demolition of the sheds so that construction can be taken up,” he said.
The BBMP would submit an affidavit in the High Court of Karnataka on the residents’ protest.
High Court nod
Meanwhile, a BBMP official said that the High Court had given the go-ahead for the joint development and also authorised BBMP to evict all occupants, with police aid, after October 8 to enable construction.
“There are 120 original allottees residing there and these residents were given the option of rehabilitation at Iglur, Anekal, or Rs. 30,000 in compensation,” he said.
The official said that the identity card was only issued to state that the person was living at EWS Quarters. “The residents cannot claim ownership over the land with it,” he added.