Bhopal: 430 families on the streets as houses to be demolished in Arif Nagar
BHOPAL: Over 400 families and their loved ones, pieced together and scrambled their belongings to safety, ahead of planned demolition in one of Bhopal’s poorest slum dwellings here on Sunday. On Monday, an estimated 430 families will be homeless for laying of the third line of the Indian Railways passing through the area.
District administration is scheduled to take action in Annu Nagar and new Arif Nagar. The action comes into effect without a clear and current rehabilitation plan for the displaced. Most of the displaced have been living in the area for over 30 years. Many have witnessed and survived the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984.
December has never been a kind month for those living in the area. Earlier this month, they were reminded of 38th gas leak anniversary that led to medical and socio-economic disparities. Dozens of schemes have been planned for redevelopment of the victims. Seldom has any scheme changed their lives for better. “It is a question of quality and justice. We are not opposed to expansion of the rail line. First the displaced should be relocated with proper compensation,” said All India Muslim Tehwar Committee, president, Ausaf Shahmeeri Khurram.
Not far away from the demolition site, is a unique Sufi shrine where the holy Quran and Vedas are recited together by the faithful. Khurram points out that religious places of worship in the area are over a century old. Ironically, one of the locations the resting place for one of the Bhopal nawab Begums, during whose reign a railway line between Hoshangabad and Bhopal was laid. It was 50-years before the Nizams of Hyderabad understood the value of the transport medium. Indian Railways acknowledges the rail network’s genius in Central India, in museum and archive documents.
“I called my in-laws and other relatives to move the whatever we can ahead of the demolition. For now, we will adjust in one-bedroom accommodation with two other families. Moving ahead there is little hope. We have to resettle and try to move on,” said Sameer, a local resident who works as a labourer.
Lack of rehabilitation plan has exposed the coordination between various agencies. According to sources, the first time the issue was proposed was three years ago. The area is divided into two MLA constituencies, Bhopal North and Narela.
An average family size in the area is about 5, leaving about 2500 homeless after demolition takes place on Monday.
About 430 houses from Annu Nagar, New Arif Nagar and Shriram Nagar will be demolished by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation sleuths on Monday. According to sources, railway and GRP personnel visited the localities over the weekend and that led to more panic.