Slum Dwellers Lose Homes

Slums in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, are being uprooted without provisions for rehabilitation.

Today, more than 90 million people in India reside in slums. They comprise over 7% of the country’s population, and almost all of them earn below the poverty line of less than $ 1.25 per day. Although a significant part of our population, the government has had a history of turning a blind eye to their needs.

In today’s video, our Community Correspondent Bhan Sahu exposes the neglect and disregard with which the government treats slum dwellers in Raipur. The New Mahatma Gandhi slum dwellers were forcefully evicted in June 2011; today, a housing board for policemen is being set up in place of where their homes used to be.

For the past 15 years, Mahatma Gandhi Slum has been home to 900 families, a total of 4,500 people. Up until a few months ago, the slum people had never faced any sort of threat of eviction from the Chhattisgarh government. On 10th June this year, however, a notice was handed to them that they would have to relocate to another area. Within an hour, policemen had demolished all of their houses without even giving them enough time to collect their belongings.

Despite complaints and pleas from the people, the Chhattisgarh Government has failed to provide any kind of rehabilitation facility for them. Left without a choice, the slum dwellers have set up temporary accommodation a few kilometres away on ‘Samtan Ghat’. They are not at ease even here, though, because they feel that, any time now, their horrific experience could be repeated once again.

The New Mahatma Gandhi Slum dwellers have jobs as auto rickshaw drivers and scrap collectors. They are migrants from various villages in Chhattisgarh, and most of them belong to lower castes and tribes. As these people are from the lowest rungs of society, they are voiceless against the injustice that the government inflicts upon them. The case is the same all over India, and except for Maharashtra, no state has passed any laws or acts that allows the provision of slum rehabilitation.

“In our country, it is so easy for rich people to acquire land,” says Bhan Sahu, “whereas our government cannot even provide basic shelter for the poor and homeless. Till when can we continue to bear this injustice?”

– Rajyashri Goody



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