After 32 resident families of D-Colony at Bapunagar in the eastern part of the city, fled fearing demolition by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), lawyers along with Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani assembled in a drive to make the residents aware of their rights on Saturday evening. In his speech, Mevani suggested that the demolition drive was a “conspiracy” to break the Congress vote bank.
“In the run-up to the 2020 municipal elections, I say a move to demolish this is a conspiracy. They are aiming to break the Congress vote bank from here and you have to resolve to not let them succeed. Until the Municipal Commissioner gives you in writing where you’ll stay, you have to fight,” added Mevani, ending with the slogan, ‘D-Colony ki ekta zindabad (Long live D-Colony’s unity)’.
A resident from one of the 32 families of D-Colony’s block 13, who left his residence on Tues-day, said on condition of anony-mity, “Police, along with AMC officials, have been making rounds here, intimidating us. This is because of the AMC notice. We left the houses in a hurry and now we are struggling to pay the rent and security deposit.”
K B Thakkar, Deputy Muni-cipal Commissioner who handles the north zone and under whose jurisdiction Bapunagar falls, says the notice for eviction was served because the buildings are nearly 60 years old, in a dilapidated state and require redevelopment.
“Following recent incidents in which buildings crumbled and fell, we are sending notices to them for redevelopment. As per the GPMC (Gujarat Provin-cial Municipal Corporation) Act, 1949 and provisions under the policy of Housing Redevelo-pment of 2016 (Rehabilitation of slum situated at public land by public private partnership), we are allowed to issue notice for eviction. It is for the safety of their lives,” said Thakkar.
“The provision as per the housing policy is that if 60% of the residents give consent, we then take it up for redevelopment… There is no intimidation at all. We ask them to take the consent form, we try to tell them it’s for their safety,” he added.
Advocate Govind Parmar said that while the land is owned by D-Colony (AMC), the houses were built by individuals. However, an official lease (or deed) was not done, says Parmar. “Block 13 was receiving notices since October, 2018, the last being in May this year.”
Thakkar says that once a building goes for redevelopment, he estimates it takes 18 months approximately for completion. “While providing alternative accommodation is not part of the mandate, the builder who takes up the redevelopment project is bound to pay the rent for those moved, from the date when the work order was issued until the residents get possession. A tripartite agreement is made among the AMC, the builder and the owner of the house under redevelopment.”
Pratik Rupala, advocate and social activist, said, “Our primary demand is that D-Colony residents be either paid rent starting immediately, or allotted alternate accommodation. While block 13 is ready for redevelopment, blocks 11 and 12 are not.”
Sixty-four other families residing at blocks 11 and 12 of the colony received eviction notice from the AMC in October, 2018. According to Govind Parmar and residents here, the AMC has sought that they evict the premises by Diwali.
With D-Colony inhabitants belonging to the scheduled castes or other backward classes, Mevani, at an event of ‘Adhikari Jagruti Sabha’ (Assembly for awareness of rights) at the col-ony, told the residents that unless they fight, they won’t win. “You need to ask the Municipal Commissioner and (Chief Mini-ster) Vijay Rupani that in your vision of development, is there any space for us?” said Mevani.