Slum demolition: thousands rendered homeless
Picking bricks from his demolished home in Kajheri village, along with his nephew, a dejected Subhash, an auto rickshaw driver, asks, “Where will we go now?” Hundreds like Subhash were displaced in a major demolition drive at Kuldeep Colony, Pandit Colony, Majdoor Colony, and Nehru Colony spread i n Sector 5 2 , here on Saturday.chandigarh Updated: May 11, 2014 12:17 IST
Picking bricks from his demolished home in Kajheri village, along with his nephew, a dejected Subhash, an auto rickshaw driver, asks, “Where will we go now?” Hundreds like Subhash were displaced in a major demolition drive at Kuldeep Colony, Pandit Colony, Majdoor Colony, and Nehru Colony spread i n Sector 5 2 , here on Saturday.
Conducted by the Chandigarh estate office, houses of people held ineligible for slum rehabilitation flats’ scheme, were demolished. Those who have been uprooted had migrated from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Haryana.
Subhash’s wife, Sarita, a roadside tea vendor, claims that the administration did not include her name in the biometric survey of 2006. “We migrated from Naraingarh, Ambala, in 1995, and have been living there since then. A few minutes are all they took to demolish our dwelling,” she says. The couple has three children. “We are shifting to Ram Darbar,” Sarita adds.
“We poor people clean their toilets, sweep their floors, and make their houses. But they demolish our homes, ” says Leela, who migrated from Ahmedabad about 20 years ago. “I have three children and a sick husband to look after,” she rues.
Ramesh and his wife Parmeshwari, originally from Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu, claim to be living in Nehru Colony for the past 11 years. Ramesh is a labourer, while Parmeshwari works as a maid. “The rentals have peaked up to Rs 5,000 in Kajheri village,” Ramesh says, while sitting along his folded bed.
Makhni, a trash collector who is physically challenged, has been uprooted from Nehru Colony. Picking iron scraps from demolished houses, she says, “I have grown old here. I am 50 now. I have two young boys.” Her husband, Sarwan, chips in, “We do not have money to pay the rent. We will have to stay on the roadside now.”
Sitting among the rubble, Sunil Kumar and Monica look on as an earthmover demolishes the shanties. “I have three kids. My parents shifted here 20 years ago from Jind. I have grown up in this colony. We have shifted our belongings to a rented room in Sector 43,” Kumar says. “No one cares to think about us,” Monica adds.
“I am not able to have food for the past two days,” says Pankaj, father of two kids. “Where shall I go with my two kids? I am yet to find an accommodation. We may sleep on the road today,” he adds.
A petrified Santosh, who works as a sweeper, says, “I have a young daughter. Now, I will have to look for a rented room.”
Last year, the administration had razed Colony Number 5 in a similar drive where close to 7,000 houses were demolished.
AAP PROTESTS; ANGER MOUNTS AGAINST BANSAL
Though no major political leader could be seen at the demolition site, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists held a brief protest here on Saturday.
Anger mounted against sitting Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal as uprooted residents claimed to have backed him in all the elections.