Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Prajjwal Kumar
Built in 1986, Bhopal's Janta Quarters in Aishbagh locality, is in dilapidated state. Around 3,000 people, in 600 single-room flats, are living in a very dangerous conditions where buildings can collapse anytime.
Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) has also declared these building dangerous for anyone to live in and has served notices to the residents to evacuate, so that they can go ahead with the demolition of the building.
On 29 August, a team of BMC officials, along with their bulldozers, had gone to the society to evict the people living in the quarters but due to protest by the residents, they had to turn back.
I went to meet the residents of the Janta Quarters, who come from working class background. Most of the residents work as daily wage labourers and have been living there for over three decades.
All of them had just one thing to say, "Please give us a house for a house."
To understand the condition of the houses, I went inside a flat in one of the buildings where Maya stays. On one floor, there are four rooms. These four rooms are allotted to four different families.
Her one-room flat, which has a small kitchen, was in a bad condition. Water leaks from the ceiling when it rains. The room has a bathroom and a washroom too, which wasn't in a great condition either. The families have somehow managed to live in such a small space.
Maya says, "We are unable to manage here. It's very tough. We want to leave but because we are helpless, we are living here."
I walked up the stairs of the building to the roof/terrace. Rods have also come out of the ceiling. Imagine how dangerous it is to live in these conditions, especially during the rains.
As I was walking on the rooftop, I could feel the tremors. God forbid but if any tragedy happens, who will be responsible for it? The government will pass the buck by saying that it had already asked the residents to vacate. But till the residents are not provided with an alternative arrangement, where will they go?
Abida Sultan, another resident, says that despite several requests, the BMC is not providing her with rehabilitation.
"We are living dangerously. We have complained to the BMC and the Housing Board, but nobody is willing to listen to us. The Housing Board had earlier said they will shift us somewhere, around 15 days before the evacuation. During the monsoon, chunks of concrete fell. I somehow managed to escape along with my children. We went to the BMC with the application for rehabilitation. Two concrete blocks had fallen. We requested them to relocate us, but they didn't accept our application."Abida Sultan, Resident
When I tried asking the BMC officials over the phone about their plans for the evacuation of residents, they dodged the question and refused to make any comment.
On the one hand, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan talks about giving justice to the poor and directs his officers to give those living in their houses for a very long time their due. On the other hand, the houses of these poor people are being taken away. Though the bulldozers have gone back, the people living here are uncertain about their future.
The Quint has tried reaching out to Bhopal Municipal Corporation on the issue. Their response is awaited. Story would be updated once a response is received.
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