Forced Eviction of slum residents to EWS quarters in obscure places

The residents of Sulikunte Slum Quarters have been struggling for basic facilities for eight years after the eviction of Ejipura slum.

Vaishnavi Gopalraj

Bengaluru, Nov 17, 2022

Economically Weaker Quarters (EWS) Quarters residents do not have supply of electricity or water. Often, they have to travel nearly 10 kms to access drinking water and other household necessities.

The EWS quarters are built away from the city and the residents are unable to access basic necessities like electricity and water. Mary Amala, resident of the EWS quarters, says, “For eight years, we’ve been living in a place that feels like a forest, without access to electricity or water facilities in our quarters. We’re living in darkness and can’t go out after sunset because it gets pitch black.”

The residents of the area used diesel generators and water tanks as an alternative  but they were unable to manage the costs as they found it difficult to earn a minimum wage.

In 2013, The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) evicted over a thousand families from Ejjipura slum and moved them to alternative accommodation at new Economically Weaker Quarters (EWS)  in Sulikunte at Sarjapur Road.

It has been over a decade since the Sulikunte project was introduced. However, the BBMP and Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) have not provided families with official allotments, water, or electricity supply

As per the High Court order of 2014, the BBMP and KSDB are responsible for handing over the flats and providing basic facilities. The order also directed them to set up nearby medical facilities. However, the execution of the order is still pending.

The responsible Kodahatti Gram Panchayat had taken up the initiative to provide limited access to solar electricity to the residents. The member of the Kodahatti Gram Panchayat says, “We have been filing an issue to the KSDB for a while now and they said that the power supply will be provided to the slum at the earliest.”

According to a report by the Housing and Land Rights Network, eviction has resulted in a reduction of monthly household income by an average of seven percent.

Social activist Venkatesh Iyer says, “The survival of these individuals depended on the familiarity of their previous location, where they had access to multiple job opportunities. In contrast, Sulikunte is an area where skilled labor is prevalent, making it difficult for these unskilled workers to find employment.”

The slum residents claims that the government has ignored their pleas for help. Officials from KSDB or BBMP visit and make promises of improvement, but residents report that no significant changes have been made in over a decade.

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