No roof over their head, no electricity, no drinking water and no toilets. For the past four days, thousands of residents of what was once the quarters for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) have been exposed to the elements. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials demolished all the sheds that once stood there on Monday.
A few residents, who cannot afford to move, have converted the huge concrete pipes there as their temporary homes. A way of life destroyed, they now have to use the pay and use toilets near the Infant Jesus Church or the one near the Passport Office, at least 10 minutes away. Sensing a business opportunity, those manning the facilities have upped the charge per usage to Rs. 5 from Re. 1.
“As if our suffering is not enough, we now have to relieve ourselves in the open. The men can manage but what about the hundreds of women and young girls?” asked Susheela, who lives with her two young daughters and two sons.
Some residents have been given biometric cards by the BBMP and assured of a home in Sarjapura in the multi-storeyed complexes being constructed by the Karnataka Slum Development Board. But they don’t know what to do till then.
Daily wage workers Saravanan M. and Dhanashekhar said rent and advance for houses in surrounding areas had spiked after the demolition. They said that the owners, who were renting out their houses for Rs. 1,500 a month, were now demanding as much as Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 4,500. Similarly, the advance that was earlier around Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 was now Rs. 40,000.