Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, May 28:
Hundreds of members of the Odisha unit of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), joined by Ambatota Basti dwellers, today gheraoed the IDCO office here protesting against the eviction drive conducted by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), IDCO and GA departments on May 22.
The party, led by its Secretary Bharadwaj Mishra, along with slum dwellers who had lost their houses in the eviction drive, demanded resettlement of the displaced people as early as possible.
The people living in the erstwhile basti, who are living under temporary tent-houses after their eviction, have to bear intense heat wave without a roof over their heads, the protesters pointed out.
A delegation of AAP members and Ambatota basti today met IDCO chairman Vishal Dev and had a discussion with him on the issue.
Coming down hard on BDA officials, Mishra said the ‘inhuman’ eviction drive was carried out forcibly by the concerned departments without serving an early legal notice to the basti people.
“Earlier Ambatota basti dwellers had filed a petition under 144 (2) of CrPC in the DCP court here, which had restrained IDCO officials from carrying out an eviction drive. If IDCO had to carry out an eviction, it should serve an early legal notice to the dwellers, the court had said. The court had also asked IDCO officials to conduct a field survey and a report in this regard. Instead of obeying the court orders, the BDA officials on May 22 evicted the houses from Ambatota Basti forcibly terming it unauthorized constructions on IDCO land,” he alleged.
A copy of the court paper was also handed over to the Chandrasekharpur police station in this regard, he said.
Some basti people alleged that due to eviction, people have to face acute shortage of water as the water in the 30 wells at the location is highly contaminated. Seven people have been admitted to the Capital hospital here after suffering sun stroke, they pointed out.
In his reply, the IDCO chairman said all demands of the basti people, including resettlement of families will be fulfilled soon. “IDCO has sought 24 hours’ time to submit an action taken report to the AAP in this regard,” Rajesh Sahoo, a member of AAP said.
Liasioning Officer of BDA Subhransu Sekhar Mohanty told OST that the eviction was conducted following a requisition made by Divisional Head, BCD division of IDCO vide Letter No.-1237 noticed on May 14 this year.
“We had demolished the houses in the presence of four platoons of police forces supervised by Zone ACP Fagua Singh, IIC of Infocity police station Dilip Kumar Swain and IIC of Nandankanan Pravash Chandra Pal,” he said.
All the affected family were given their compensation amount of Rs 6600 on the eviction day as they are covered under Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) Scheme, informed the Liasoning Officer of BDA.