Published On : Fri, May 22nd, 2015

BJP ruled NMC’s gift to poor Nagpurians – rendered homeless with mercury soaring over 47*

With BJP ruled Modi Government about to complete one year in office, and all cabinet Ministers appearing on news channels every evening to boast about their achievements – here is something for NMC to boast about too. In the name of demolition of illegal structures they have evicted many families out of their hutments near Telephone exchange sending men, women and children into the hot sun with no shelter on their heads.

Dhantoli zone Encroachment News phtos 21 May 2015

Dhantoli zone Encroachment News phtos 21 May 2015

Nagpur: Since three days in a row now Nagpur’s highest tempratures are soaring to 47* and above – making Nagpur the not just the hottest city in India but the hottest city in the world.

One wonders how stray animals like dogs and birds survive in such hostile and hot atmosphere. We leave pots of water out for them out of ‘humane’ considerations. We cannot imagine even animals braving this weather.

And here, our city officials have gone and demolished homes of around 200 – 250 people living in the Lakadganj slums near the Telephone Exchange. What’s more, this slum hasn’t cropped up overnight, poor people have been living here for the last 40 – 50 years. People living here are mostly employed as labour in Kalamna, Itwari and other surrounding areas. Women folk must have been working as domestic help / maids in homes of the more well to do.

Preceding the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, politicians of all parties who went there to canvass and ask for votes had promised these same people that their basti would be legalized and they would be allowed to build ‘pucca’ homes. Either that, or they would be shifted to another place and rehabilitated.

Elections over, no promise was kept.

Since the last two days NMC has gone on a drive to demolish illegally constructed places of worship and also shops on many city main roads. This was as per the High Court’s orders. There are allegations on this front also that some shops and hoardings belonging to politically connected people were not touched, while others were erased ruthlessly.

Yesterday afternoon, i.e. on Thursday the dreaded demolition squad suddenly turned its attention to the Lakadgunj basti. No warning was given, people were not given time to make any arrangements to shift their families or to save their belongings. Anticipating opposition, large police force had already gathered there making people fear about what lay in store.

When the bull dozers appeared making basti wallahs realize that their worst fears were coming true, they were seen pleading with NMC officers, workers, police etc. to give them some time, to have pity on their little children and old parents, but all pleas fell on deaf ears.

What made matters worse, was that NMC deliberately seems to have chosen such a time when young and able bodied men and women were out on work and only feeble old people and little children were around.

Thus when the bulldozers began their demolition work, these people present could not do much to salvage their belongings from their huts either.

After all, what do these poor people own? Some utensils, a few containers containing food grains; some mattresses, clothes and their Gods of course. Wonder what they ran to save first of all? The utensils, the clothes, the food grains or their Gods’ idols? I am sure the thought did not cross their minds – what use Gods who cannot save you from such merciless ‘officials’?
When their sons/ fathers and mothers returned home in the evening they found their children accompanied by their weeping parents sitting in the open, under the sun, waiting for them helplessly.

The irony is that just yesterday, Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule accompanied by NMC and NIT senior officials had held a press conference informing that the state govt. and local bodies would soon to be holding “samadhanshibirs” for Nagpur citizens to take care of their pressing problems. The CM would inaugurate the shibir himself.

“Even minor issues like non receipt of Adhar cards or Ration cards will be dealt with” promised the Guardian Minister.

All these people whose homes were demolished have Adhar cards and other identifications issued by government. Yet, it could not save them their living homes and prevent their children and old parents becoming homeless at 47* temperature?

When NT tried to contact Mr. Bawankule regarding this he was at a public meeting and could not take the call.

The Collector, Sachin Kurve, said he knew nothing about this; NMC officers must have decided to take this action, he was not kept in the loop. He advised me to talk to the Commissioner Mr. Hardikar.

Shravan Hardikar happens to be on 10 days’ leave.

Everyone is busy with his/ her work and life goes on…Who cares where these people spent the night? Who knows what they had for dinner – where they cooked it?