Bangalore July 30, 2013: An evictee of the EWS quarters at Ejipura, who was forced to live on the streets following the demolition of her home, died on Monday of suspected renal failure.
Neelamma, 60, had reportedly developed a urinary tract infection a week ago. Police said she had been experiencing repeated respiratory and gastrointestinal infections ever since her eviction. She is survived by two sons – Kumar R and Ramesh R.
According to Kumar, Neelamma had been healthy before her eviction. “We had been staying at the EWS quarters for more than a decade and not one day was she sick,” he said “Ten days ago, however, she became bedridden and found it difficult to walk as she had suffered a stroke.”
Kumar added the she had visited doctors and was on medication. “But on Monday at around 10 am, she passed away suddenly,” he said. “It is because of the eviction that she developed the infection and health complications.”
Dr Sylvia Karpagam, a public health doctor and the co-convenor of Jana Arogya Andolana Karnataka, maintains that still there are around 100 evictees living on the footpath in small tents erected near an open drain.
Karpagam, who issued Neelamma’s death certificate, said: “Ever since the eviction, there has been a rise in malnourishment among children and women. Urinary infections have increased due to the unhygienic conditions they are forced to live in.”
Evicted EWS residents maintain that Neelamma was the second elderly woman to die in recent weeks. Another evictee, Maqbool Bi, 70, allegedly died on June 28, after developing breathing problems and severe cold. One of the evictees, Shantha D, blamed on the problem on the site of their tent camp. “Since the tents are near an open drain, we have been facing the menace of mosquitoes. Adding to the problem is a large vacant plot where BBMP lorries unload garbage. It is due to all these problems, many people are falling sick. Every day, we are struggling here.”
BBMP health officials have expressed ignorance about the two deaths. When the Palike’s Chief Health Officer Dr S B Nagaraj was contacted by Deccan Herald, he said, “The Palike’s engineers concerned should be shifting the evicted residents to other places. We had earlier carried out spraying activities at their camp site and fogging will be done depending upon the situation. I will direct my officials to immediately visit the place to take necessary action.”
Karpagam, however, castigated the officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, who she claimed had never visited the camp site.