Twenty one families of Jayabheema Nagar slum in Malleswaram were displaced when their houses were demolished on Tuesday morning. A park or a playground will be built in that area. The slum, located behind Mantri Sqaure, was close to the upcoming Metro station here. It falls next to the alignment of BBMP’s proposed 20 m road which would connect the Metro station to the main road.
The slum does not come in the way of the road alignment, but would create a block, says BBMP Engineer-in-Chief B T Ramesh, who supervised the demolition. The area where the slum stood would be converted into a park or playground. The decision on demolition was made by the state government, Ramesh said.
Residents have already been provided alternate houses for resettlement in Jalahalli near Peenya, but they have not been willing to move so far. "Jalahalli is too far for us. Many residents work in Mantri mall and in areas nearby. Children are enrolled in schools here. After relocation we would lose our jobs and children’s education will be affected," says Sujata, a resident.
BBMP officials and the police arrived at the site at about 4 am and started the demolition. Though residents had received notices on demolition about 10 days ago, they were taken aback by the drive early in the morning. "There would be around 10 people per house on average. We have been staying here for generations," says Alamelu, a resident.
N Kenchalayya, President of Karnataka Dr B R Ambedkar Horaata Vedike, present during the demolition, said that residents had filed a petition in High Court last week contesting the demolition notice. The hearing was scheduled for noon, Tuesday. "There are no schools or even proper bus stops in the new area where residents would be resettled. There are no facilities, and it would be expensive to travel to city everyday," says Kenchalayya.
Originally there were 103 families in the slum, of whom 82 have already settled in the newly allotted houses. Residents had filed a case against Metro in the civil court earlier, for which the court ordered that Metro’s resettlement plan was fair and had dismissed the petition saying that residents were free to approach the HC if needed.
There were no strong protests or activists in the site during demolition. When residents demanded that they should be relocated in an area nearby, Ramesh said that he would discuss the issue with Metro Rail authorities.⊕