‘We have been living out in the open for the last three days’

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school campusBANGALORE, August 22:   The building which partially collapsed in Someshwara Nagar on August 19 killing three persons continues to threaten the lives of people in the neighbourhood three days after the disaster.

The structure leans precariously and gives the impression that it will collapse with another bout of heavy rainfall. If that were to happen, the small huts that surround the illegal building will also most likely be reduced to rubble.
Special machine

As the BBMP waits for a special machine to be brought from Chennai for the demolition, the residents are getting panicky.

“We have been living out in the open for the last three days,” said Chandra Kumar (41) a resident. “What if there is another collapse?” asks Mohammed Kafeel. Those in the immediate vicinity of the building are demanding that the BBMP relocate them until the threat has passed.

“We have offered to relocate them at a nearby government school. But none of them have agreed to go there,” said one BBMP official posted at the site.

Countering this, Shashikala (17) said, “They want to shift all of us into a large community hall inside a school campus. They have made no arrangements for our belongings. There aren’t even any proper toilets there.”

Mohammed Suhail (32) said that his family has not entered their hut since the disaster. “We are eating all our meals at restaurants. We cannot afford this.”

BBMP Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan, however, downplayed the concerns of the residents. He said, “Our technical team has inspected the site and concluded that there is no danger of the building collapsing on the nearby huts.”

But what if there is a heavy downpour? “Well, we have asked the people to move out and return when the demolition is complete,” he said.
‘Relocate us’

“We cannot afford to move into a hotel or lodge. We are poor people. Also, why should we spend our own money and shift? What is our fault in this situation? The BBMP should relocate us,” said Mr. Chandra Kumar.

To this the BBMP Commissioner said, “We will relocate them when the demolition work starts.”

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