Social activist Medha Patkar has termed “land-grabbing” a bigger scandal than the spectrum allocation.
Addressing the first State-level convention of slum-dwellers at the R.N. Shetty Kalyana Mantapa here on Friday, Ms. Medha Patkar said that officials and politicians in connivance with builders and real estate developers were looting the country and exploiting the poor.
She said that only 2 per cent of the slum-dwellers had received the land rights while the rest of them across the country were yet to get the land rights of places where they had been residing since decades.
Terming the slum rehabilitation schemes as a “fraud”, she asked the slum-dwellers to verify such schemes that were being proposed as most of the times they were aimed at giving prime lands to land-grabbers.
Ms. Patkar said that while slum-dwellers in over 5,700 “garib bastis” in Karnataka did not have rights over the land, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was giving sites to his family members.
She termed the move by the Chief Minister not only corruption but also a “rape of democracy”. She said that only with a united fight of the poor that corruption could be eradicated.
Ms. Patkar said that the Slum Janandolana would urge the governments to implement not just slum development measures but programmes that involved the slum-dwellers in the development process and which gave equal rights to them.
Madara Channaiah Swamiji, journalist Ramzan Darga, Rajendra of PUCL, and others addressed the slum-dwellers. Ramanjanappa Aldalli of SUCI welcomed the gathering.
Earlier, hundreds of slum-dwellers took out a procession on the streets of the city, led by Ms. Patkar and office-bearers of Slum Janandolana–Karnataka, which had organised the convention.