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3 weeks after crash,residents start moving back to unsafe homes

The residents said that they have been surviving on meals provided by the VMC.

Written by Aditi Raja | Vadodara |
September 18, 2013 3:25:02 am

On a day Chief Minister Narendra Modi celebrated his birthday with his supporters,some residents of Madhavnagar society in Atladara,who have been forced to live in makeshift tents,were upset with him. One of them,Santoshben Solanki,said,“A day after the building collapse,Modi went to Chhota Udepur to inaugurate the new district,but he did not come here to see how we were suffering. He chants,‘My Vadodara,My people’,but when his people need him the most,he is not there.”

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Many of the 418 families of Madhavnagar society,who have been living in makeshift tents or parking lots since the two buildings collapsed on August 28,have broken the barricade put up by VUDA and moved into their dilapidated homes that have been declared unsafe for habitation by experts and VUDA officials.

The residents said that they have been surviving on meals provided by the VMC. Now,many of them have moved their belongings back to their homes. They said that in the event of a tragedy,the blame would squarely fall on the state government. Santosh Jadhav,a committee member of the society,said,“We have been living in tents since the day our neighbours died due to inaction and corruption in the government machinary. It’s becoming difficult with each passing day to live like this,staring at our inhabitable homes. All that the authorities do is provide sub-standard food twice a day.

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There is no urgency to make sure that we have roofs over our heads.” They have been battling rising temperature and surprise showers,he added.

Most women here have lost their jobs. Anitaben Vasava,who worked as a domestic help and was sacked as she was unable to report to work for three weeks,said,“We don’t want food that the authorities give us everyday. We want our homes and can fend for ourselves. We cannot afford taking up houses on rent at Rs 5,000 per month. We live under a scorching sun without any arrangement for water.”

Last week,VUDA officials sealed entrances to three more towers. Residents,however,have been using the parking lots of these buildings to sleep during rainy nights. They met VUDA officials and submitted a memorandum to the district collector,seeking alternate accommodation. But no action has been initiated so far.

VUDA officials pleaded their inability to take a decision until the Gujarat government’s policy decision on the matter was communicated to them. A VUDA official said,“The delay has happened because the file is awaiting clearance from the Chief Minister.”

J V Patel,Chief Executive Authority of VUDA,said,“We have assured these people that a decision will be taken soon.”

When contacted,N V Patel,the VUDA Chairman,said,“It’s not in my hands.” Meanwhile,Yuvrajsinh Jadeja of Manjalpur police station,who was the investigating officer in the case,has been transferred to the Surat Crime Branch,and the case handed over to Inspector B B Parmar of the same police station.

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