Social activist Medha Patkar, who visited the Ejipura economically weaker section (EWS) quarters on Thursday, promised to take up the eviction of slum dwellers at higher levels through senior lawyers.
Patkar, who patiently listened to the woes of residents, told reporters that what happened at Ejipura was an example of primary land encroachment and land grabbing by Maverick Holdings & Investments Private Limited.
The demolished site sprawling across 15 acres of land is worth Rs 3,500 crore. About 50 per cent of poor live in urban set up. What we need is houses for urban poor and not malls and complexes, she added.
“What the State government has done is completely against the constitution and judiciary has been misled by both the State government as well as Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike,” she claimed.
One of the dwellers, Dhanavalli, explaining her situation to Patkar said: My son is in 9th standard and his exams are scheduled for next month. However, I do not know what to do as school authorities have asked me to pay exam fees without which they won’t provide the hall ticket. The future of my college-going son and daughter is also at stake.
Shantha Mary alleged that the residents who are living on footpath have been told by the police to evacuate from the place by February 18. “A few leaders living in this locality collected Rs 250 from 1,200 families and formed a welfare association. They told us that they will fight the case in court to prevent the demolition. But they have not done anything till date,” Mary said.
Outbreak of disease
The outbreak of infections and epidemic diseases has increased ever since the residents have been evacuated from EWS Quarters site.
Confirming this, Dr Sylvia Karpagam, who has been regularly visiting the EWS quarters site since the day of demolition, said: “Since the evicted people are deprived of good food, sleep and are staying on roads, they are prone to infections and diseases. After the demolition drive, there has been rise in respiratory problems, eye infections and children prone to fever.
Around 30 – 40 people are being treated for injuries and infections. I have come across instances where people suffering from ailments in EWS quarters have lost their medicines due to demolition and their health has deteriorated.”