Special Correspondent

Shimoga: Residents of nearly 600 houses constructed under the high-tension power line in Tipu Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Tunga Nagar face the threat of being rendered homeless as the authorities of Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (MESCOM) have issued notices to them to shift from the marked area coming under the power line.

Taken aback by the sudden move by the authorities concerned, the occupants of these houses, majority of them being poor Muslims who are daily wage workers, have decided to go against it.

“We could not celebrate Ramzan this time as we were under the threat of being evicted,” say many Muslim residents.

The families which have received the notices say that they will not shift from the area unless they are adequately and properly rehabilitated. They demand that families to be affected be given at least a site and a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh each.

Nawab Baig, president of the Tipu Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar and Tunga Nagar Refugees Welfare Forum, says that the people in the area are willing to cooperate with the authorities by moving out of the place but that can happen only if their demands were met.

“The residents are willing to move out of the area only if their demands are met,” he says. He, however, adds that they will protest against “illegal eviction”.

He says that a majority of families pay house tax and possess title deeds given by the Shimoga City Municipal Council on the basis of which they obtained ration cards. He says that many of the houses have power connection.

It is said that most of the houses were constructed about 40 years ago with many of them being constructed even before the high-tension power line was laid in the 1960s.

Besides, the Karnataka State Slum Clearance Board, which is said to have developed the area as a slum, has reportedly given title deeds to its occupants. It has provided streetlights and drainage system to the area. “When such is the case, how can we be faulted for living under the high-tension power line?” they ask.

Another event that has made the families in the area nervous is the demolition of the shops on BH Road for road-widening almost the same time last year.

What has upset the residents of the area is that the elected representatives have not responded properly to their predicament.