On the chopping block are more homes and a primary health centre
The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which had come under fire for demolishing hundreds of homes in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quarters on prime land in Ejipura in January, now appears to be at the centre of another controversy. For, the civic authority, after handing over the 14 acres and 5.2 guntas of land, on which the homes stood, to Maverick Holdings Pvt. Ltd. for a private-public-partnership (PPP) venture, is expected to hand over an additional 1 acre and 21 guntas of adjoining land also to the builder.
This information, obtained from the BBMP Engineer-in-Chief under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, was shared with journalists at a press conference by Isaac Arul Selva who is a part of the Forum against EWS Land Grab.
The map accompanying the BBMP official’s reply shows that the additional stretch of land, which is yet to be handed over to the builder, includes the pourakarmika quarters and the Koramangala Primary Health Centre (PHC) situated close to the demolished shantytown. “It is shocking that this matter has not been made public by the BBMP,” said Mr. Selva, who filed the RTI query.
While the PHC staff was aware of the possibility of the health facility being demolished, those living in the pourakarmika quarters were shocked to see the media outside their homes. Refusing to accept that their homes too would go, Venkatesh (52), a BBMP worker who has been living here since 1996, said: “We have been relocated after our homes in Marenahalli, J.P. Nagar, collapsed. We have all the documents. We will not allow anybody to come close to our homes.”
A link worker at the PHC said: “It will be a big loss to the residents of these areas. A large number of residents from Ambedkarnagar, L.R. Nagar, Rajendranagar and Shastrinagar [use this facility].”
The PHC was also a centre where tuberculosis patients came to get Directly Observed Treatment Short (DOTS) course for treatment. “We get a minimum 30 patients daily,” she said.
Meanwhile, a group of Congress workers, led by Vannarpet councillor Vijayan S., turned up to say there was “no truth to the demolition claims”. “This information is revealed on the eve of the polling day to damage our party’s prospects. We will not allow any further demolitions to take place.”
‘No decision yet’
When asked, a senior BBMP official told The Hindu the decision on giving Maverick more land was yet to be taken. “We need to negotiate with the residents.”
The BBMP has entered into a joint development agreement with Maverick to construct multistorey residential complexes for the original 1,512 EWS allottees on seven acres and exploit the remaining to construct a mall.