The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) appears to never get its plan for “slum-free Vadodara” right. On Thursday, the VMC demolished around 160 clustered homes at Kisanwadi slums and shifted the families to the houses constructed under Khodiyar Nagar slum redevelopment scheme that do not have electric supply or water connection.
This came on a day when the disaster management department issued an Orange alert for heat wave as the maxiumum temperature crossed 44 degrees Celsius in the city. The weather is likely to prevail for three days.
The VMC bulldozed around 150 slums in Kisanwadi area and directed the families to shift to their recently allotted homes at Khodiyar Nagar. The families reached their new homes, hand-carting most of their belongings, only to discover that the allotted homes were not suitable for dwelling yet.
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The colony has no electric connection and no water supply.
BJP Corporator of Ward No 5 Mohan Vasava, who heard complaints of the residents, made a representation before the Standing Committee chairman, seeking an explanation.
Vasava told The Indian Express, “I have raised the issue with the Standing Committee. I cannot understand how the officials decided to demolish the homes without ensuring that the allotted flats have basic amenities like electricity and water. The residents had accepted the allotment and were willing to vacate the slums. There was no need to hurry to evacuate.”
For the residents, especially children, the day was spent under the sun looking for water. Girls as young as seven years helped their mothers drag large pots in search of water on the compound. Ujjwala Suryavan-shi, who relocated to the housing scheme, said, “I am a widow and have two sons who are not even adolescent. There is no power supply in this colony and the homes are not yet completed. In my flat, the door is not closing properly. How does the VMC expect me to stay in a house without water and power supply?”
Another resident Devendra Jagdale said, “VMC officials arrived this morning and asked us to shift to our new homes. We did not know that we would be left in a state like this when the summer is at its peak. They should have at least ensured power and water supply to the colony.”
Executive engineer, basic services to the urban poor, F J Charpot said the VMC Commissioner has requested the Madhya Gujarat Vij Corporation Ltd. to provide emergency power supply to the colony. Charpot said, “The draw for these homes were conducted in March and the families were asked to submit their documents for processing the electricity meters. However, they did not submit the documents in time. The VMC commissioner has requested the MGVCL to provide emergency power supply.”