Ramakanta Biswas

More than 100 families, who were residing at Goudabandha Sahi under ward 37 of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC), have been rendered homeless after their houses were demolished by the local civic body as part of an eviction drive. 

The families who claimed to have been living in the area for over 70 years were evicted on Wednesday due to alleged violation of norms of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). 

Though the administration made alternative accommodations for the evicted families, they refused to move there alleging lack of basic amenities.

The residents alleged that the new accommodations do not have drinking water and electricity facilities. Besides, the area does not have school for children, they alleged. 

After the eviction, about 500 members of the families including children and elderly persons were forced to spend night under the open sky. 

"We do not want to move to the houses allocated to us as they are in dilapidated condition. We cannot live there. Our children are going to school here. If we move there, they will face problem," said a woman resident of Goudabandha Sahi.

“The administration has orphaned us by demolishing our houses. What's our crime? Why have they left us to suffer? They would have killed us too,” rued another woman. 

Earlier, the civic body had made several efforts to evict the residents from the area, but the drive resulted in violent face-off. Now, resentment is brewing after the families have been evicted allegedly without any proper rehabilitation plan.  

“The administration should have rehabilitated the residents before carrying out the eviction. We will hit the streets to protest the eviction and the administration will be responsible for it. The houses allocated to the residents are not livable as they do not have basic amenities like water and electricity,” said the local corporator.

The reaction of the BeMC authorities could not be obtained.

Reported by Ashok Brahma, OTV