Over 1500 poor families have lost their homes in the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) quarters in Ejipura, Bangalore, due to corruption within the BBMP in collusion with land developers who own Garuda Mall.
Many of the families are out on the streets in the cold. Children are at risk and they have no where to stay.
The BBMP has been evicting these poor families from land allocated to them at Ejipura in 1996. The BBMP has handed over the land to Maverick Holdings and Investments Private Ltd. (parent company of Garuda mall) to be developed into a mall under a public-private partnership.
A Lokayukta enquiry has been ordered into this project alleging that the deal was illegally awarded to the Maverick group under the Yeddyurappa Government.
On 23/11/2006, the Commissioner of the BBMP issued a letter to the Principal Secretary UDD raising serious questions in regard to the granting of the contract and its violation of public interest. Worse still, this agreement was drafted without any information going to the residents of the site, let alone any consultation or plan for alternative housing for the residents.
The residents of EWS quarters come from historically marginalized, deprived SC/ST and minority communities, and work strenuous hours daily as garbage cleaners, construction workers and domestic workers, and are paid next to nothing for their strenuous daily wage labor.
BBMP is trying to justify the transfer of EWS land to a private company by claiming that there is shortage of funds. However, the same BBMP sent back Rs. 13 crores received last year from the Central Government under the JNNURM-BSUP project, meant to build houses for poor people, citing shortage of land. Apart from JNNURM-BSUP funds, money for building the houses can also be mobilised from the Rajiv Awas Yojana, the 22.75% Special Component Plan for SC/ST communities, 15% funds reserved for minorities and 7.5% reserved for Backward classes. There is no dearth of money, if the government wants to provide housing for the weaker sections.
More than a generation of people have lived in this place in tin sheds, waiting for their right to housing. It is most unfortunate that when there is land and money to build houses for the economically weaker sections, thousands of them will be thrown to the streets and a mall will come up in its place. This is a clear case of land grab which will mostly benefit a corrupt builders, officials and elected representatives while harming the interests of several poor families. This situation must be rectified immediately.
Grounds of Protest
- Why is land earmarked for purpose of housing Economically Weak Sections (EWS) being used for the purpose of private profit and commercial exploitation?
- Why has the BBMP chosen Maverick Holdings when they have already committed fraud by constructing Garuda Mall on public land meant for a parking lot?
- The Government has issued biometric cards, BBMP ID cards, Voter IDs and Ration Cards to the residents of EWS quarters. The BBMP Council even passed a resolution in 2005 that houses would be built for both allottees and non-allotees living in EWS Quarters. On what grounds are they now labelling them as encroachers?
- Why were the residents who were recognised as lawful residents not consulted before any decision was made?
- The concession agreement between Maverick and BBMP clearly lays down that it is Maverick’s responsibility to relocate residents during Implementation Period at its own expense. Why has this not been done?
- While EWS Quarters stood on 11.37 acres of land, how is 15.64 acres of land being handed over to Maverick Holdings?
- When this case was in the High Court of Karnataka, why did the BBMP mislead the court by saying that all interested parties agreed to this arrangement? Why were not these bonafide residents not considered as "interested parties" in this agreement
We demand the following:
a. REHABILITATE ALL RESIDENTS on the same EWS premises immediately.
b. CANCEL THE AGREEMENT which transfers the EWS land to any private company and rebuild houses for EWS residents on the same land.
c. PROSECUTE THOSE RESPONSIBLE for brutal evictions and building collapse and compensate the victims justly.
d. ORDER A JUDICIAL INQUIRY into the illegal diversion of public lands to Maverick Holdings and ensure its return back to its rightful owners.
You can also call and ask the demands as above
Venkatesha Murthy, Mayor, BBMP - 94480 53899
H. Siddaiah, Commissioner, BBMP - 94806 83001
Residents asked to move despite CM's assurance: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/ejipura-only-a-water-tank-and-shrine-remain/article4348684.ece
CM assures temporary dwellings till end of academic year: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/ejipura-shettar-promises-temporary-lodgings-till-academic-yearend/article4347385.ece
Rehabilitation: the bucks get passed around: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/ejipura-rehabilitation-the-buck-get-passed-around/article4337075.ece
Pictures from the 24th: Mirno Pasquali: http://kafila.org/2013/01/24/photographs-from-ejipura-demolition-mirno-r-pasquali/
The Hindu's Complete Coverage of Events: http://storify.com/TheHindu_Blr/ejipura-ews?utm_campaign=&awesm=sfy.co_dD6W&utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter
Timeline from 1991 to 19-1-2013: https://thepelicanbriefcase.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/ejipura-timeline-1991-to-19th-january-2013/
Forum Against EWS Land Grab
Relief for EWS Ejipura Demolition Victims, Samatha Sainika Dala, PUCL-K, Aam Aadmi Party, Dalitha Sangharsha Samithi (Bheemavada), Bridge Network, Bangalore Slum Janara Sangatane, Bangalore Slum Janara Kriyaa Vedike, Students for Change, Maraa, Vimochana, APSA, Dalita Samara Sene, Karnataka Tamil Peoples’ Movement (R), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), Students Federation of India (SFI), Dalita Sangharsha Samithi (Ambedkarvada), Dalit & Minorities Land Protection Forum, Slum Aandolana - Karnataka, Savithri Bhai Phule Slum Mahilayara Sangatane, Bahujan Samaja Party, Social Democratic Party of India, Karnataka Tamil Federation, Karnataka Raajya Raytha Sanga, EQUATIONS, Swaraj Network, Free Software Movement (Karnataka)
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