More than 6,000 residents of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Quarters, who had been rendered homeless after the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) demolished the structure in 2003, got relief on Tuesday when the Karnataka High Court directed the BBMP to build a new EWS quarters and rehabilitate the residents expeditiously.
Justice Rammohan Reddy passed the order on petitions by Akruti, a construction firm from Mumbai, which had challenged the award of tender for the construction of the EWS quarters at Ejipura, Bangalore, to Maverick Constructions.
Dismissing the petition, Mr. Reddy observed that there is no merit in it. He also imposed costs of Rs. 50,000 on Akruti.
He directed the BBMP to take up construction of the EWS quarters expeditiously and ensure that the displaced persons were given homes.
The issue of tender had come up before court with Akruti alleging irregularities in the award of the contract. The BBMP and the Government, however, defended the award of the contract and said it was done as per the law.
According to the BBMP, it decided to demolish the entire EWS quarters after three buildings collapsed killing seven persons and the 39 other quarters showed signs of “wear and tear”. It said it had decided to relocate the residents to a new area till the new structures were completed.
It said that it had constructed 1,512 flats in 42 blocks. All the flats were allotted between 1987 and 1992 to those belonging to economically weaker sections. After the demolition, the BBMP found that only 258 original allottees had stayed there, while the rest had unauthorisdely and illegally let out the premises.
The BBMP said that it decided to develop the 13.1 acres of land on which the EWS quarters was located. In 2006, it decided to build a residential complex and called for for tenders for which Akruti and Maverick Constructions applied.
After Maverick Constructions was awarded the contract, Akruti moved the High Court which, in 2006, stayed the award of the contract.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, Mr. Reddy saw no merit in the case filed by Akruti and dismissed the petition.