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Slum dwellers rehoused in wasteland without water, power, hospital

A slum dweller carries water home

BANGALORE (Sept. 22)—After a long wait to be rehoused, Drumshed slum dwellers have been moved to barren lands in Sadaramangala that does not even have drinking water.

On Sept. 14, 70 families of Drumshed slum were moved to the flats constructed by the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board (KSCB). Another 213 families were moved to the new flats two days later.

The slum dwellers’ new abode has barely any facilities. They face four problems:

*No drinking water: Drinking water is not supplied to the area. The slum dwellers are forced to buy water from a small shop nearby that only opens for half an hour each day. They have to go to another area to get water for washing and bathing.

*No power: There is no electricity supply to the area.

*No health care facilities: There is no hospital or any other health care facility in the area.

A child looks for water

*No bus fare: The slum children are already enrolled in the schools near Drumshed, which is 15 kilometers from Sadaramangala, but many of them cannot afford the cost of transportation there.

“We were happy in Drumshed,” said Annamalai, general secretary of Drumshed Association, which was formed to support the rights of the slum dwellers. “We had good water facilities, very good transport, an English-medium school where most of our kids [are enrolled to] study [although some of the slum children do not study there now], and medical aid. Now we are back to our fathers’ time.”

Annamalai’s father came to Drumshed slum 40 years ago. He used to work as a laborer on railway projects in Bypannahalli area before settling in Drumshed, which did not have any infrastructure at that time.

“We didn’t have good education then, so we are sending our children to schools so they don’t suffer like us,” Annamalai said.

Flats constructed for slum dwellers without electricity connections and unfinished roads

Meghana, an assistant engineer of KSCB, told Annamalai on Sept. 14 that the board would try to provide water and electricity within two weeks. It had not done so by Sept. 22

177 families now homeless

Of the 460 families staying at Drumshed, only the 283 that could afford to pay the relocation fee have been rehoused in Sadaramangala. The others are homeless. The slum families have to pay 10 percent of the total cost of their new flat if they are members of scheduled castes or tribes and 12 percent if they belong to a general caste. They must submit their caste certificates at the time of payment.