More houses razed at Ejipura in Bangalore #slum demolitions

DEEPA KURUP, The Hindu, Jan 21,2013

By the end of the evening, more houses had been razed, leaving only a short row of the tin-sheet tenements standing.
By the end of the evening, more houses had been razed, leaving only a short row of the tin-sheet tenements standing.

Only a few rows of tin-roofed tenements remain now

On Sunday morning, after spending the night out in the cold, thousands of residents of the EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) Quarters here in Ejipura managed to stall four earth movers making way into their shantytown. But hours later, post noon, the bulldozers — under the supervision of policemen and a BBMP official — moved in and demolished a large chunk of what was left of the quarters, where at least 2,000 families lived.

By the end of the evening, more houses had been razed, leaving only a short row of the tin-sheet tenements standing.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike claimed that the “entire area will be cleared out by Monday”. With nowhere to go, hundreds of families bundled up their belongings, stacked up their television sets and bedding in a row, and cooked out in the open. Even clean drinking water is a challenge, given that water supply and electricity to the area were cut-off four days ago, they said.

The BBMP says, and it has submitted to court, that it has offered rehabilitation, including accommodation and Rs. 30,000, to those living there.

However, the money has gone to 1,512 original allottees, of which barely over 120 are residents here. The rest of the tenants — at least 1,600 families that have been given BBMP “hakku patras” — have been left in the lurch. This shantytown is being brought down to make way for a glitzy mall developed by Maverick Holding and Investment Pvt. Ltd. and a residential complex for the 1,512 allottees co-developed by the civic body.

The crowded thoroughfares here are replete with tales of false promises, deceit and corruption. Sahai Mary, who works as domestic help in the National Games Village complex nearby, says that in 2004 they were given “hakku patras” promising them homes. “Every election, politicians have promised us homes. Where are all of them now?” she asks. Sahai Mary, a single mother of three, alleged that even the local youth association was “bought over”.

In fact, the BBMP council had, in 2005, passed a resolution that it would provide alternative accommodation to all the residents here. Residents say that a few months ago men who claimed to represent the area MLA showed them land in Anekal, which turned out to be privately owned by a businessman.

Sahai Mary points out that all her children will lose their school year if they move far from here, and rents in the area for a one-room tenement start at Rs. 5,000 with an advance payment starting at Rs. 50,000.

“How can we afford that much money?” asks Ameena Begum, 45, whose daughter was among the 23 arrested by the police on Saturday. Most of them pay between Rs. 500 and 700 for their rooms. They point out that most owners, who have taken the BBMP’s “interim settlement”, are yet to return their security deposits.

Traumatic episode

And if the trauma of losing their homes was not enough, these residents have been living in fear for the past week. Manikandan (30), a mason, says he hasn’t slept since the demolition drive started because every night “rowdies” would appear past midnight, sometimes extorting money from old women, and at other times, simply threatening them to leave.

Shanthamma (56), who lives with her mentally-challenged son, weeps inconsolably as she narrates how on Friday night they forced her to part with her life’s savings of Rs. 5,000.

She insists on showing her ration card, Aadhaar documents and voter identity card to prove that she is indeed a resident.

B.T. Ramesh, engineer-in-chief, BBMP, said that the High Court of Karnataka had ordered the evacuation. He said that the BBMP had tried to build temporary sheds in Sarjapur, but the plans were thwarted by a senior Minister.

Asked about the allegations that he had vested interests in the Rs. 2,000-crore project, he said: “Even the tendering has not begun. It’s all false. Moreover, we have been warning them [about eviction] since October.”


#Bangalore 50-60 women beaten, arrested at EWS Colony this morning, protesting demolition by BBMP #Vaw

50-60 women beaten, arrested at EWS Colony, Ejipura this morning, protesting demolition by BBMP.

Chaos in EWS colony as BBMP starts demolition


Residents on prime land tense as some more huts are razed

UNSURE FUTURE:Will a permanent, secure house for them remain a pipe dream? Ejipura residents watch the bulldozers at work in Bangalore on Friday.— PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.

UNSURE FUTURE:Will a permanent, secure house for them remain a pipe dream? Ejipura residents watch the bulldozers at work in Bangalore on Friday.— PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.

Utter confusion prevailed on Friday in the Ejipura housing colony for economically weaker sections as bulldozers hired by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) once again entered the area with the police in tow. Unsure about the target of the earthmoving machinery, many residents started running helter-skelter even as others stood their ground and entered into verbal duels with the officials.

“I don’t know if they will demolish my hut this time. Where will I go if they do?” wailed M. Syeda (40) who has three children and a disabled husband to feed. At least two dozen huts were demolished in Friday’s operation.

Piecemeal demolitions

Demolitions in the colony have been happening on a piecemeal basis over the last few months with similar waves of police and BBMP officials entering the area and retreating after razing a few dozen huts.

“Each time they come, we don’t know which line of huts they will target,” explained Mutthu Kumar (37), one of the residents of this colony, which is majorly comprised of Dalits and minorities.

The 15 acres and 22 guntas of land on which the shantytown is located is slated for the construction of a mall as well as higher quality tenements for the original residents. As part of a joint development agreement that the BBMP entered into with Maverick Holdings and Investment Pvt. Ltd., half of the land will be used for the construction of 1,512 EWS apartments. The other half will be used by Maverick Holdings to construct the mall. Eviction of residents for the project has been stalled several times since its inception with residents and rights groups staging protests, alleging that it smacks of a land scam.

Biometric cards

Even as tension prevailed at one end of the colony on Friday, another group of BBMP officials continued to issue biometric cards to the residents under a makeshift tent. These cards, the officials said, will help the evicted residents lay claim to the new houses that are planned as a replacement for the present tin-roof structures.

The main concern of the residents, however, is what they will do until the new houses are built. “Some officials are saying the new houses will take a year. Others are saying it will take three years. We are scared and confused,” said B. Selvi (65).

Some of the residents here are original allottees while others are tenants of the original allottees. The replacement flats on the same spot are planned for original allottees whereas the tenants, most of who have been living here for the last decade, have been assured of a colony at Sarjapur.

As the demolition progressed in Ejipura, one group of residents trooped to the BBMP headquarters and staged a snap protest. “In view of the upcoming school and college examinations, we want the BBMP to give the residents another two months to vacate,” said Amruthraj Isaac, one of the activists who led the agitation.


Bangalore woman delivers baby on road, dies

TNN Apr 23, 2012,

 BANGALORE: Denting the city’s aspirations of emerging as a global medical tourism hub, a woman delivered a baby boy on a busy road and bled to death after she could not avail of timely medical help, at Kamalanagar in west Bangalore on Sunday.

The newborn is battling for life in Vani Vilas Hospital. The pregnant woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, appeared before a provisional shop on the Shakti Ganapati Temple Road, Kamalanagar, around 9.30am. She was accompanied by a boy and a girl, both less than four years of age. As the woman went into labour, the shopkeeper asked her if he could help her.

As the two children got her some water from the shopkeeper and tried to keep curious onlookers at bay, the woman picked up the newborn and started walking on the road, and then collapsed. Passersby rushed the unconscious woman to Ashok Hospital where doctors cut the umbilical cord of the newborn.

The doctors said the woman’s condition was serious and sent her to Vani Vilas Hospital, but she breathed her last before she reached the hospital, where doctors put the baby into the neo-natal intensive care unit. The two children accompanying the woman, meanwhile, were lost. Locals said she was Poornima, a resident of the area. She was living with her sister after her husband abandoned her. However, police did not confirm this.

Meanwhile, doctors said the newborn is in an incubator. Every baby should be kept warm and covered after birth, they pointed out. The lack of that has led to a sudden drop in his body temperature, resulting in plummeting pulse rate as well, they added. Hospital medical superintendent Some Gowda said a newborn’s first few hours are crucial but in this case everything went wrong. “The situation in which he was born wasn’t ideal. No sanitary precautions were taken. He was taken to a park later and we suspect this led to infection,” he said.

“The baby is in a critical condition and it is too early to say anything. A few hours after he was brought here, he suffered a bout of fits. We are finding it really difficult because there is no medical background on his mother. For a blood test or anything else, none of his blood relatives are around. As of now, we are trying to keep him stable,” the doctors said.


Experts believe the woman who died after giving birth to a baby boy on a pavement could have been saved if passersby had called 108 ambulance services.

“There is no dearth of healthcare facilities and shelters that take care of women in distress. We have services like ‘short-stay’ homes run by Karnataka State Social Welfare Association Board in association with the Central Social Welfare Board. We also have centres like ‘Swadhar’ and a very prompt ambulance service, ‘108’. Citizens who noticed the woman struggling should have called 108 and she could have been saved,” said Nina P Nayak, chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.


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