(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
The Bangalore city government and a private developer kicked more than 1,500 poor families out of subsidised housing in January, razed their neighbourhood and left them homeless. The reason? They want to build new, better housing – and a mall.
The flattening of 15 acres in the neighbourhood of Ejipura is another step to refurbish India’s information technology capital, where rents and property values have risen thanks to foreign companies pouring into the city and people from all over India seeking good jobs. As is often the case when there is money to be made, poor people are in the way.
City police and developer Maverick Holdings Pvt Ltd forced people to leave their tin shanties on Jan. 19 and 20, and sent bulldozers in to raze the rickety dwellings. Some have left, others have been living on the footpaths or inside large drainage pipes in the area. They have no shelter, toilets or running water for washing and drinking. They are carrying little more than clothes and a few possessions.
“It has been three weeks since we came on road and are unable to find a house that suits our budget,” said Vennila, who has left her three children at a friend’s place until she finds a house.