State govt announces flats for 78 of 132 evictees

After six months of the eviction drive at Nonadanga slum at the eastern fringe of the city, State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on Saturday visited the slum and announced rehabilitation package for the evicted slumdwellers in the area.

However, Hakim announced that the state government will give flats to 78 families under the schemes for urban poor, in the project area, while the total number of families in the area is 132.

After the announcement, the rights activists cried foul and claimed that the government is trying to divide the slumdwellers and suppress the movement.

Ranjit Sur, member of APDR who remained associated with the Nonadanga movement said: "It is clear that the government is trying to play the divide and rule policy. We demanded that all the slumdwellers have to be rehabilitated. Today, the government has made an announcement and we don't know what prompted the minister to come to the area after six months of the movement started. But we assure that we will continue with the movement till the last member of the evictees in the area is rehabilitated."

The area had been on a boil since April when a slum was demolished evicting several families for an ongoing project under the KMDA. Those evicted from the slums have resorted to protest marches, demonstrations and hunger strike which made the police resort to lathicharge.

Significantly, the land is vested with the state government where the slumdwellers had settled with the help of some local leaders. The KMDA started an eviction drive for a development project in the area, however, the slum dwellers with the help of some rights activist, protested the move.

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