Date: 11-1-2011 PRESS RELEASE
The Greater Vizag Municipal Corporation is planning to displace people from about 175 slums.There is a pending dispute on land in Court between private owner claimants and slum dwellers of Indira Nagar. But the civic authorities are planning to remove the residents of Indira Nagar while the matter is subjudice and the land is not publicly owned. The GVMC has already demolished 2 slums in the vicinity despite protests from the residents, without playing any heed to their plight. In similar vein, they have resorted to demolish the homes of the people living in Indiranagar on 9th January 2011. The residents of the slums had tried to meet the Civic authorities to plead their case. However, the civic authorities have resorted to using brute force on a peacefully protesting people, and the police have lathi charged and women were molested.
It has become a regular practice for civic authorities in all our cities to target poor slum dwellers for displacement to handover the land to real estate developers to profit. Instead of creating amenities and conditions for a decent living for the poor, their tenements are considered an eyesore and every attempt is made to somehow push them out of sight. A city gets paralysed if these people opt to leave these slums. Providing them a place to live is a minimum social security the society owes to them for making the city livable for all through their services.
A clear contrast of how the authorities behave towards companies and ordinary citizens is evident in Visakhapatnam. While the authorities have been sleeping over the AP High Court judgement and the official plan of action to reduce pollution from the Vizag Port to comply with the norms for more than a decade, they now ask the middle class residents of Kotaveedhi to vacate and move from there to avoid pollution and are not willing to act on the criminal polluter. In the same vein, they are forcing slum dwellers to vacate their homes disregarding the obligations under the constitution to safeguard the right of every citizen to shelter.
We condemn the civic authorities GVMC for the misuse of law against poor slum dwellers and subjecting them to false cases under PD Act against more than 1000 persons and arresting 94 persons including 56 women.
- Stop immediately the eviction of slum dwellers
- Withdrawal of all cases against the slum dwellers, who were only asserting their right to shelter and right to life and release them immediately.
- Implement Rajiv Awaas Yojna and such schemes through participatory process, granting them right to in-situ development with Right to Property (land and houses).
- An impartial inquiry into the incident and punish the guilty.
Medha Patkar, Prafuula Samantara, P.Chennaiah, BRK Raju
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS
Head Office: A Wing First Floor, Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road
Dadar (E), Mumbai-400 014 Ph. No-2415 0529 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org