Skip to main content

Gujarat slum policy in action: No toilet, water, power, ration card, voter ID card to Valmiki slumdwellers

The slumdwellers named it Bapa Sitaram Kamdar Nagar
By Our Representative
While Gujarat government put in place what it called a “policy for in-situ rehabilitation of slums situated on public land” through a government resolution (GR) on July 18, 2013, latest indications from Ahmedabad reveal that it remains on paper for large sections of slum-dwellers for one-and-a-half years after it was promulgated by the state urban development department. In a glaring instance, as many as 69 Valmiki Dalit households, living in makeshift accommodations for nearly 15 years in the midst of posh Jodhpur area of western Ahmedabad, have been threatened that either they clear the area, or they would forcibly removed, the cost of which would be charged from them.
The slum-dwellers, who have named their slum as Bapa Sitaram Kamdar Nagar, told Counterview, this is not for the first time they were threatened. “At least thrice they demolished our huts, but following intervention by a voluntary organization, we were able to stay put here”, said a resident. Yet, their main woe is, they are living without power, water, toilet public or private, no ration card, not even voter ID card. Though they form part of the “policy for in-situ rehabilitation” GR, as they life on a public land, it hasn’t been implemented for them.
Official papers with the slum-dwellers suggest the type of public land they live on, which enables them to take advantage of the in-situ slum rehabilitation policy. A notice they received from the assistant estate officer, New Western Zone, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) says that they are living on Town Planning scheme No 4 (Vejaplur), Plot No 185, owned by the AMC, but it adds, the plot has been kept aside for “sale for residential purpose”, one reason why they should clear it. One of the notices to a resident, Vinodbhai Karsanbhai Vaghela, asks him to vacate as he lives “without any authorization.”
Notice to a slum-dweller suggesting it is public land
Declared when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was Gujarat chief minister, the “policy for in-situ rehabilitation” GR states that the Gujarat government aims at according “priority” to rehabilitate slum dweller families in-situ by providing “houses of minimum 25 sq metres”. The most important qualification is, the slums should be “situated on public land in urban areas of the state”, the GR says, adding, each family would be given a pucca house “with basic amenities having two rooms, kitchen, bath room and latrine.”
While promising to set up a “prescribed authority” consisting of government officials to look into in-situ rehabilitation, the GR says, the policy would be particularly implemented for any area which is “a source of danger to the health, safety or morals of the inhabitants or its neighborhood”, or is “low-lying, insanitary, squalid and overcrowded”. Defining “public land”, it says, this includes “government land, land released under urban land ceiling Act, land owned by urban local bodies, urban area development authorities, public boards, undertakings and public authorities.”
While the policy GR says that the in-situ scheme would be implemented for notified slums, it underlines, “The prescribed authority can notify any area in an urban area occupied by slum dwellers as a slum area and further as a ‘slum rehabilitation scheme’ for the purpose of rehabilitation of that slum” in accordance with a 2010 law enacted for slum rehabilitation. The only criterion is, the slum dwellers’ families that should be living in slums “on or before December 1, 2010.”
Hosla Prasad Mishra of the Kamdar Swasthya Suraksha Mandal (KSSM), an NGO working among the Valmikis, told Counterview that a major reason why the slumdwellers of Jodhpur area were sought to be removed is “there is increasing pressure from the builder lobby on AMC officialdom to clear it for constructing a residential-cum-commercial complex.” He added, “The flats being built in the vicinity of the slums cost Rs 1 crore each… The elite in the area are clearly uncomfortable with the very idea of in-situ rehabilitation in the area.”
A visit to the slum area suggests that even the big hype of building toilets for every household has not touched the slum. “BJP people came to us for recent membership drive. But nobody tells us whether they will provide us with toilets. We are not only without toilets or water, there is no power, no sanitation. We are only threatened to be removed from here. We don’t even have ration cards or voter ID cards, though recently we given bank accounts under the Jan Dhan project”, said Babarbhai Manibhai Waghela, a slum resident.
Taken for a Modi-sponsored gharib kalyan mela in Ahmedabad a couple of years ago, the residents complained, they were promised houses at the Modi fete for the poor, but those promises were never unfulfilled. “How can our children study in a situation like this? There is no basic facility. Provide us with shelter, preferably in this area only, and we can progress”, said a slum-dweller, adding, “Currently, rich people around castigate us for being dirty, and want us removed. Of course we are dirty, but they must remember: We don’t have any water supply, no toilet, we have to go out in the open for defecation, and hunt for water in the nearby areas…”

Comments

Anonymous said…
In Vadodara Vangariawar in TPS 18 East of Mnjalpur is the oldest Slum during the times of Maharaj Gaikwad > this is now on the PTP plot reseved for Health Purposes, Finaliged in 1992 with Gazatte notifications. But till 2014 the VMC Vadodara have not taken posession of this plot nor constructed houses for EWS people.In 25 Years the TPS 18 plots of East of Manjaalpur not taken by te VMC. Reason best known to all. where BJP and Congress politicians of Vadodara are responsible. Now they are demolitioning houses of poor peoples against Slum policy of Gujarat State from 1999 submitted in Hon. Gujarat high Court in SCA # 3426 of 1998 Orders dated 5,9,2000 PUCL Vs States and others..

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.