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Ahmedabad tribal workers site demolished for metro project: Whither rehab policy?

By Mina Jadhav* 

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has demolished 69 settlements of tribal construction workers in front of Srushti Arcade, Motera, Ahmedabad. The settlement had come into news last year at the time of the visit of US President Trump to the Motera stadium.
The AMC had tried to undertake the demolition at that time as the settlement was very near the Motera stadium to be visited the US President. However, facing adverse media publicity, the AMC had stopped its eviction proceedings. The then AMC commissioner gave an interview in a national newspaper saying that there will be no eviction without rehabilitation.
Now, all of a sudden, the AMC demolition squad undertook the eviction when the workers had gone to their homes for Holi. Very few workers were present when the demolition happened. All the belongings of the workers were also destroyed in the process.
Since then, there have been two major developments. The Covid induced lockdown brought the issue of housing for seasonal migrant workers into public limelight. It was acknowledged by the state that the exodus of workers was directly related to the poor quality of housing migrant workers had access to.
It is to be noted that all the residents of the Motera basti are the tribal migrant construction workers from Dahod and surrounding districts who migrate with their family. The low wage rates means that they can not afford rental housing and are forced to live in the open. Realising this, the Central government has come out with policy for public rental housing. The Government of Gujarat has also launched schemes to make public rental housing available for migrant workers. However, all this did not stop the AMC from undertaking the demolition.
Another major development has been that the plot of land occupied by the settlement has come under the second phase of the Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) project that is funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and has robust rehabilitation guidelines.
The agency responsible for under the Social Impact Assessment of the project Gujarat Institute of Development Research undertook a social assessment of 69 families resident on the plot on 25th February 2021. Under the guidelines of the project, the residents are entitled to the following compensation:
a) Valuation of the structure
b) Right to salvage the affected materials.
c) One time subsistence allowance of Rs.3,000 per month for one year from the date of award.
d) One time shifting assistance of Rs.50,000
e) PAPs losing residential units shall be offered tenements of 36.5sq.m at residential buildings by AMC.
Every single one of these conditions has been flouted by the AMC. The workers' union, Majur Adhikar Manch, has lodged a formal complaint with JICA demanding
  • Full compensation under the provisions of the Social Impact Assessment of the project
  • Compensation for the trauma suffered by the families
  • A full inquiry into the episode, fixation of responsibility, and punishment for the guilty personnel
  • Adoption of suitable measures by JICA so that similar violations do not take place in this project and other project funded by JICA
  • Stopping of all work on the project until the resettlement is complete
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*Secretary, Majur Adhikar Manch, Ahmedabad

Comments

Anonymous said…
what a stealthy covid sir jee kal strike by bjp bhai

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