(Written by Sohini Ghosh)
Over 300 residents of Makarba, a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood in Ahmedabad, walked for nearly 11 km to protest against eviction notices served to them by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). The protest rally was organised on Thursday during which residents of Alif row houses and Al-Asbab Park walked from Makarba to Sardar Patel Bhavan, the AMC headquarters.
The notices were served to the residents last month. According to AMC’s Town Planning (TP) Department, 341 residents were given the notices.
A TP official said, “98/1 and 98/2 plots are being used by the AMC to develop affordable housing for which 12 metre-wide and 18 metre-wide roads around the property were stipulated and therefore those who are occupying that area have been asked to vacate. Moreover, we have allotted plots for ‘sale for residence’ and a ‘school’ for which we have asked them to vacate the areas.” The plots have nearly 200 houses inhabited by people belonging to the lower-income groups.
The AMC had drafted a scheme — TP-84A — that includes the EWSH (economically weaker section housing) and the roads around it, a corporation school and the residential plan in 2015. The plan was finalised on March 8, 2018.
According to the residents, the AMC had called them in May, 2018, but no solutions were provided to them about their rehabilitation. Residents of Alif row houses and Al-Asbab Park in Makarba, on the western suburb of the city, have been receiving eviction notices since 2015, according to the protesters.
While the notice, which has been accessed by The Sunday Express, does not mention a deadline for eviction, a resident of Al-Asbab Park said, “We were told that we have to vacate by January 17.” The AMC official, however, denied this and refused to comment.
While AMC claims the plots to be their own, Kausharali Saiyed of Humari Awaz Sangharsh Samiti (Sarkhej), which organised the rally, said: “If the residents have been paying taxes and electricity bills, how can AMC claim ownership? On this, an AMC official said, “Taxation is not a proof of ownership.”