At least 30 families have to brave the elements here

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rajagopala nagarBangalore, September 5:  Construction worker Chandru has been living in a makeshift shed under a plastic sheet for the past week. The heavy rain that lashed the city made it worse for this 31-year-old who was among the many people evicted from their slums in Rajagopalanagar in Peenya II Stage.

At least 30 families have been left homeless after they were allegedly evicted by the owner of the private land in Ganapathinagar, on which the slums were located. After forcing them to vacate nearly two weeks ago, earthmovers were brought in on Wednesday to level the land. The slum dwellers, most of them from Gulbarga district, were allegedly threatened and asked to move out by a large group of people.

“We have all been left without any rehabilitation and are adjusting with makeshift sheds or by staying with relatives. It has been a struggle to live under these weather conditions with such heavy rain,” says Chandru, who has to support his family, including his wife and four children, in Gulbarga.

Chandru says that all the 30 families have been living in the same area for at least two decades and have never been troubled and therefore the eviction came as a shock. “We were told to move out two years ago by the land owner and again a few months ago. However, we said that it would be difficult as we cannot afford to pay rent elsewhere,” he said.

Members of Bridge Network, an NGO, who are trying to help the evicted families, said that the Saturday before last, the owners of the private land had come to the area and made them vacate. The NGO workers said that they had spoken to the land owner who had asked them not to interfere. However, they claimed that they were unable to identify him as he refused to reveal his name.

“Peenya is an industrial area and it is not easy for them to find rehabilitation. We had even written a letter to requesting for rehabilitation in September 2012,” said the NGO members, who said they had approached the Deputy Commissioner and the Karnataka Slum Board with a request to provide rehabilitation.

Karnataka slum board authorities said that they cannot comment on the matter if it involved a private land. “Unless it is registered as a slum, we cannot comment on it,” an official said.

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