Tears rolled down Jabbar Pathan’s cheeks as he saw his name in the list of the lucky ones to be allotted a home under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in Sayajipura. A daily wage labourer, whose family has been putting up at a relative’s place since November last year, when his home in Kalyannagar was demolished by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), Pathan arrived at the JNNURM housing office quite in disbelief.
On Thursday, the VMC conducted the much-awaited draw for EWS homes to those evicted from Kalyannagar, stonewalling intense opposition from the neighbourhood which said Muslims moving into the area would pose a “threat to the state”.
Jabbar Pathan said, “We know it will be some time before we can move into our house but I will say a prayer for God has shown me a sign that the roof over our heads will be back.”
The VMC conducted the draw for the residents of Kalyannagar, who were evicted in November to save embarrassment for the party whose top brass intervened in pressing for a change in decision. Under pressure from local residents, the VMC went back on its commitment to rehabilitate all those evicted from Kalyannagar, at Sayajipura. The Indian Express first wrote (on April 2) about how the evacuees, most of them Muslims, had no home to go back to, after which the VMC sprung into action, and promised to bring about a solution by Friday.
On Thursday, the VMC announced allotments for 340 families putting up their names on the JNNURM housing department office notice board. Initially, the VMC drew a list of 481 families of Kalyannagar apart from 170 families of Kamatipura. F J Charpot, executive engineer, BSUP, JNNURM said, “We have conducted the draw of the Kalyannagar residents for 340 flats according to a final verified lists, omitting repetitions. With this, the allotments of Kalyannagar are complete.”