A day after The Indian Express reported about the suspension of draw of allotment for JNNURM housing scheme flats for residents displaced due to demolition drives at Kalyannagar and Kamatipura slums — most of them are Muslims — Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) assured the representatives of the displaced families that they would soon have a home to call their own.
Although non-committal about a time frame, owing to the lack of communication from Mayor Bharat Shah, corporation officials assured representatives pushing the families’ case that the matter would be resolved “at the earliest”.
Municipal Commissioner H S Patel, who had refused to meet the representatives on Wednesday evening, sent executive engineer of Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) Housing department F J Charpot to meet Prof J S Bandukwala, who has taken up the cause of the evicted, at his Vadodara residence on Thursday.
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The VMC official handed out a list of families that need to be settled in civic housing projects after their homes were razed in November to Bandukwala.
Shaukat Indori, one of those fighting for the evicted families, said: “The engineer met Bandukwala with a list of 481 families of Kalyannagar alone. In addition, nearly 170 families of Kamatipura settlement who have not been rehabilitated are also awaiting their turn. Bandukwala has also requested VMC to resolve the matter of 268 other families that have been temporarily put up in Maneja. The families are unhappy about being sent to a far-flunged area after being promised settlement in Sayajipura.”
Officials from VMC housing department said conducting the draw is not in their hands as it needs the “Mayor’s presence”, but there can be no revoking of those relocated in Kisanwadi and Maneja areas. An official said, “Everyone wants to choose their location. About 55 families of Kamatipura, who were relocated in Kisanwadi want to go to Sayajipura while 268 families from Kalyannagar are refusing to take possession in Maneja as they want to go to Kalali or Sayajipura. We cannot accommodate everyone in the same complex. Even for the 528 flats in Sayajipura, the first allotment draw held about three months ago was cancelled because names of the beneficiaries on the list was based on an old 2010 survey.”
Commissioner Patel told The Indian Express, “We will finalise the allotment. We will discuss with our officers and find a way out”.
Representatives of the families have urged VMC to push for allotting flats by next week.
Bandukwala said if VMC is unable to accommodate the families in the projects promised in Kalali and Sayajipura, due to objections from local residents and the “Mayor’s U-turn”, they must be allowed to rebuild their homes at the site where their homes were demolished.
“In the name of Vishwamitri Riverfront Project, civic authorities razed homes of residents of Kalyannagar without planning a smooth transition for them in terms of employment, education for their children and other basic amenities. Now, objections of the residents has come as an added roadblock. I learn that the Mayor is chiefly holding up the entire process. In this case, it would be fair to allow the residents to move back to the place from where they were uprooted”.