Of the thousand room huntments, near about 400 are in ruins.
Bengaluru, Aug. 23, 2018: On the morning of Aug. 18, some 400 families were rendered homeless when the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) demolished a part of the hutments on Kariamma Agrahara road in Bellandur.
According to the Zonal Assistant Engineer Prakash, the demolition was on the grounds of unauthorized construction and unsanitary practices. He went on to add that in heavy rains these areas, whose levels are much lower than their surroundings, flood quickly and result in the breeding of mosquitoes possibly carrying viral diseases.
The owner of the land, a lawyer Sampath Kumar has filed a case against BBMP on the grounds of illegal destruction of property on private land without prior notice. According to Prakash, who coordinated this drive, BBMP and a local police sub-inspector went on to the site on Aug. 2 and told about a 100 residents about the upcoming demolition drive.
He also visited the land owner, Sampath Kumar, to warn him about the drive. According to zonal assistant engineer Prakash, the law does not obligate any Municipal Corporation to send prior notice to the erring party before demolition of his property, if the MC considers the property an immediate danger to the surrounding areas.
The Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act of 1976 makes it obligatory for any MC body to issue a show-cause notice to the owner of the unauthorized construction before demolition, to give him a period of time and opportunity to prove that his property is not illegal.
In the midst of this clash between the BBMP and the land owner, hundreds of people now have to collect their belongings from the rubble that used to be their home.
Rabia, 51 year old mother, mother of seven daughters, was in Delhi at her daughter’s house when the BBMP came. When she returned home, she found her belongings lying in a pile of ruins, and the pair of gold earrings she saved for the marriage of her youngest daughter was lost in the rubble.
Taniya and her infant son Rabiyul, who are living in the ruins and sleeping under a tarpaulin at night, lost most of their belongings along with their television set when the bulldozers ran over their home.
Zarin, a resident of North India, who made a makeshift home out of cardboard and asbestos sheets, lost her gold chain in the pile of debris along with her television set and some furniture.
Some of the kids who study in the nearby government school in Marathahalli were not sent to school out of fear that the bulldozer might come again.
Most of the women in the affected area work in the upscale residential complex of Mantri Espana next door. The complex authorities have been complaining about the unsanitary practices that go on in the hutments, and cited security concerns related to the septic tanks being constructed too close to the boundary walls of the complex, according to Ramesh, a regular maintenance staff of the complex.
After this demolition drive, some of the workers from the hutments were not allowed to work in the complex anymore by their employers, said Taniya.
According to BBMP, the plan to demolish the rest of the hutments, about a thousand, is still planned.