In Bengaluru, a dispute broke out between BBMP officials and citizens; the high-voltage drama was witnessed in parts of the city where people demanded an explanation from the officials for initiating the demolition.
‘Bias against the poor’
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) continued its anti-encroachment drive for the second day in several areas of the Mahadevapura, even as allegations of “injustice”, and “bias against the poor” during the demolition came to the forefront. The state government, however, said instructions to “unsparingly demolish (illegal) structures” have been provided.
While some residents say they support the government’s efforts of starting the demolition drive, others allege that the authorities are only operating against the common man and not going after the mighty and well-connected people who have encroached upon the stormwater drains.
“The government taking action against common man’s property will not work alone. They should also take the same steps against big people who have built illegal structures in the city. The action must be equal against all,” said a resident of Shantiniketan Layout, reported by News18.
A dispute broke out
When the civic body officials arrived at the Mahaveer apartment in Mahadevapura, a dispute broke out between the residents and BBMP authorities as the locals stopped the BBMP officials from operating the encroachment removal work. But the BBMP officials, who had the government permit, went ahead with the demolition.
A former government employee and resident of Mahaveer apartment AK Singh said that all the residents of his building have an occupancy certificate. “The BBMP has issued this certificate. Why did they issue it if there was a stormwater drain here? Didn’t they know it? We trusted that BBMP has done its job before issuing the occupancy certificate. We will move court,” he said.
“What the government is doing is not fair. They (BBMP) approved our (building) plans. The BBMP had said that the SWD was diverted. We have been paying taxes, and now the government says they are going to demolish the building,” said a Mahadevapura resident.
Speaking during the monsoon session of the state assembly, senior Janata Dal (Secular) legislator AT Ramaswamy said, “They (government) have demolished the homes of poor people but left out the rich,” quoted Hindustan Times.
The BBMP has been razing illegal structures built on the stormwater drains (SWDs) in several areas of the city which allegedly caused the flooding. Also, the civic body official, who is part of the drive, said the government has given a go-ahead and there is no question of sparing anyone, however powerful they may be.
Revenue minister R Ashoka said that his department is giving a list of encroachments to the BBMP. “I have given instructions to the deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner, and tehsildars to stand with the BBMP and provide them with the documents, without looking at people and unsparingly demolish (illegal) structures,” Ashoka said.
Till now, compound walls and other minor structures in Bengaluru have been demolished in the drive. The state government will be under huge criticism until it completes the demolition of major structures on the encroachment list, which includes Wipro, Eco Space, and Bagamane tech park.