Meeting of slum board not held since Ambareesh took charge: protesters

Over 5,000 slum-dwellers from across the city staged a demonstration in front of the Slum Development Board against Housing Minister M.H. Ambareesh on Monday. The agitators were miffed by the fact that the Minister had not held a single meeting of the slum board, of which he is the chairperson, since the time he took charge.

Ganesh Koligeri, one of the persons who lead the agitation, said that despite several requests from slum-dwellers’ organisations,

Mr. Ambareesh had never convened a grievance redressal meet. memorandum. However, Home Minister K.J. George met the agitators and accepted the memorandum.

The long-standing issue of granting of title deeds to slum-dwellers was one of the demands put forward by the agitators.

“Even after 66 years of Indian independence, lakhs of slum-dwellers in Bangalore have not yet been given title deeds to their properties by successive governments. This means, they face constant threat of evacuation,” said Mr. Koligeri.

The agitators urged the government to formally notify certain areas as slums. In the absence of such notifications, the government is not duty bound to implement development projects such as sanitation, water supply and electrification. The agitators asked the Home Minster to protect them from the land mafia, stating that the threat from the mafia was most severe in the slums of New Binnamangala, Thyagarajanagara Bhovi Colony, Yeshwanthpura Karimandi Colony and Sajjepura Mathapalya. The land in these slums, located in the middle of prime areas, is worth thousands of crores of rupees, they said.

Mr. George assured the protesters that the government would soon schedule a meeting with their leaders and address their grievances.

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