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Posts Tagged ‘EWSEjipura

Ejipura: “How many malls do Bangaloreans need?”

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This article was originally written for The Alternative. Reblogging it here.

For all those who are not aware there was the demolition of EWS quarters of around 1000 families at Ejipura just opposite the National Games Village, Kormangala in Bangalore last week. This demolition has happened for building up another mall by the builders of Garuda Mall. Even the Garuda Mall at MG Road is not legally built. The land was given for a multilevel car parking but the mall has come up instead of the parking. The residents of Ejipura whose houses have been demolished are out in the open in the cold without water, power, food and shelter.

“My 8 months old child is suffering from jaundice and fever. My husband is not there and I have lost my job. “says one on the residents of Ejipura whose house has been demolished. In spite of all these challenges she has been helping the volunteers in distributing food and clothes to the right people.

Pic: Mayank Rungta

Can we who live in our comfortable houses with food and snuggled into warm blankets be so strong? I am really amazed by these people who are greeting us with a smile even in the difficult times when they have lost their shelter. They have not forgotten to care for their neighbors checking if they received the food and blankets. Apart from that they are also taking care of their pets, mostly dogs and cats.

They are out in the open, on the footpaths on both sides of the road with their minimal belongings with nowhere to go. What was their crime that the houses of 1000 families have been demolished? Even a criminal has a roof over his head in the jail. The toilets have been destroyed. The first day itself water supply and power supply was cut off. And in just 2-3 days the ground where once these people used to live has been grounded and the area has been fenced. I really should appreciate BBMP for the efficient work they have been doing in demolishing the houses. They have carried out this eviction very strategically in phases, first the houses were demolished, then people were pressurized to vacate the place, then they started leveling the ground without looking at what’s on the ground and this debris was piled on all the sides to block various entrance so that supply of food, water and other essentials arranged by volunteers can be ruptured and finally fencing the whole area with very high tin sheets. If they channelize this efficiency towards the grappling problems of our city, I am sure Bangalore would be a much better and a cleaner place in no time.

With no access to power supply, water supply, toilets, food and shelter the government has left them out in the open to suffer and not even taking the responsibility of providing them an alternative shelter. To add to it yesterday they demolished more houses in the area. It is only because of the continuous efforts of few people and volunteers that these victims are able to get food, water and blankets regularly. Even we volunteers faced resistance by the police in distributing food and blankets. The vehicles carrying food was not allowed to enter the area. We had to walk with the food cans to find people among the rubbles in the dark and distribute food to them. It is really unbelievable how much callousness exist around us.

My emotions have been overwhelming to put everything in words. I feel angry. I feel helpless not able to fight for them. I am sure after all this my conscience will never ever allow me to step into the mall which would be standing here in next few months or years or rather any mall. How many malls do Bangaloreans need? I and my husband rarely visit a mall and our life goes on smoothly.

I, along with other volunteers, have been visiting the site for the last one week. I can’t really explain the plight of the people in words; how people have been sitting or sleeping in the cold. I would request that we all to go to the site and see for ourselves what it feels like when you lose your home. At least, the residents would feel that they are not alone. We know how much it matters when someone is there with you just to talk to you in the difficult times. Many of the residents have lost their jobs and it would be good if we can help them find jobs. They are mostly home maids, driver, cook etc.

Appealing all to come out and help the residents of Ejipura in any way – helping them fight for their ‘Right to Shelter’ or help in spreading the awareness or help with the logistics or finding them a home or a job.

You can follow the updates on Ejipura and volunteer for relief work through the Relief for EWS Ejipura Demolition Victims Facebook page or the hashtag #EWSEjipura on Twitter.

Written by Priyanka Varma

January 28, 2013 at 8:40 am