Bengaluru

Homeless villagers pitch tents near burial ground

Homeless families staging a protest on the outskirts of Byalya village in Madhugiri taluk of Tumakuru district.

Homeless families staging a protest on the outskirts of Byalya village in Madhugiri taluk of Tumakuru district.   | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

They have not been able to get houses under government schemes

More than 70 homeless families who have been struggling to get houses under government schemes have pitched tents and built small huts on a vacant plot of land abutting the burial ground on the outskirts of Byalya village in Madhugiri taluk of Tumakuru district. “This is our way of protesting against the government’s indifference to our plight,” one of them said.

Almost all the villagers are daily wage labourers. As many as 39 of the families are Dalits, while the rest include members of Scheduled Caste communities, Lingayats and OBCs from the village. They moved to the government land near the burial ground on August 25 with their children and elderly relatives, and plan to remain there until the authorities help them.

“We have been begging politicians, officials and representatives to allot us houses, but meetings at the gram panchayat level have not yielded any results,” said Hanumantharayappa, a labourer who has lived with his family in a rented house for the past 16 years. “I cannot afford it any more, and I don’t have they money to buy land or construct a house.”

Lack of rains in the taluk, where people are dependent on agriculture to eke out a living, has seen work dry up. With no funds, some families can no longer afford to pay rent.

There is no infrastructure, running water, or electricity for the families who have staying in tents on the vacant plot. “We see burials regularly and my three daughters have fever. We are living here amid fear of being bitten by snakes and scorpions,” said Lalithamma, a daily wage agricultural labourer. Her ‘home’ is a dilapidated rented house with unstable walls and a leaky roof, for which she pays ₹500 as rent. “When it rains, we move to a neighbour’s house in the fear that our walls will collapse,” she said.

Handral Nagabhushan, a memberr of Bhoomi Mathu Vasathi Vanchithara Horata Samiti, told The Hindu that they would fight by staying on the vacant plot till all the families got title deeds. The families have the support of local NGOs and Dalit leaders.

Deputy Commissioner K. Rakesh Kumar said he has instructed the tahsildar to conduct a survey of the government land, which can be allotted to the 70 families. “After getting the survey report, I will send it to the government for approval,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:01:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/homeless-villagers-pitch-tents-near-burial-ground/article29309421.ece

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