They co-exist with rodents here
Displaced slum-dwellers are uncertain about what to do next
Troubled times: A resident of Kalyani slum at her dwelling before they were moved out.
Bangalore: Gangabhavani, a resident of Kalyani slum in Sampangiramnagar, is shattered after her brother H. Srinivas (25) died in December. “He was suffering from typhoid. Though he was recovering, his condition deteriorated after he was bitten by these rats,” she said, pointing to the rodents moving around in her house.
Four other residents have met the same fate as Srinivas, following complications after being bitten by rodents in the last six months. Ms. Gangabhavani’s family is one of the 32 families residing in the makeshift tin sheds put up on a drain by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
The palike shifted them from their original dwellings in the Kalyani slum to the makeshift sheds on the drain to facilitate the construction of a pilot project on “Basic Services for Urban Poor” (BSUP) taken up under the Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The promise was that they would be allotted a 270-sq ft single bedroom-living room-kitchen flat with an attached bathroom and toilet in a three-storeyed building in eight months. But 27 months later, their living condition has only worsened. This despite the fact that the building is ready for occupation.
As the sheds are on a drain, the rodents scurry into the sheds all the time. When this reporter visited the slum on Wednesday, she found rodents moving around freely in the sheds, unmindful of people around them.
“We have to hold the plates in our hands to eat, otherwise the rats will jump into them even as we are eating,” Chakravarthy, another resident said.
“They have damaged our clothes, buckets and even cooker handles. We cannot store the food for a second meal. These rats will even gnaw through the thick plastic buckets to eat our food when we close the vessels with buckets. We are fed up with life,” said R. Rani, who said her husband K. Kumar also died recently following rat-bite.
The rain and the resultant mosquitoes have added to their misery. “We spent the whole of last night under the shelter of shop projections on the adjoining road as the temporary roofs of the sheds are not good enough to protect us from the rain,” Muniswamy B., another resident, said.
The slum is also full of mosquitoes and most residents are suffering from fever and joints pain.
BBMP Additional Commissioner (East) S. Puttaswamy told The Hindu that the slum-dwellers could occupy the new houses only after they pay the beneficiary contribution of 10 per cent of the project cost.
“Each family has to pay Rs. 31,621, which is a must as per the agreement between the palike and the residents. Though six of them have made the payment, the building can be occupied only after all the 32 families pay the amount,” he said.
“We are aware of the problems the residents are facing. We are in talks with their leaders, who are trying to arrange for bank loans. We will distribute the possession certificates soon after they make the payment,” he added.
But the residents said they are not hopeful.
“We are poor daily wage earners working as labourers and masons. How can we arrange such a huge amount?” Mr. Muniswamy asked.
Date:12/06/2009 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/06/12/stories/2009061257510100.htm Back