BENGALURU: Cracked walls, broken window panes, leaking pipes and to add to it no electrical supply is how the residents of Kadugondanahalli (K G Halli) slum rehabilitation buildings describe their houses.
Built under the Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) a component of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the building is located in Kadugondanahalli in Bangalore.
“The window panes haven’t been fit properly causing them to fall anytime. Even if you open the window the glass pane falls off,” says Meeramma, who stays on the third floor. Her son was injured when a glass pane fell on his leg. “Children play in the building compound and who expects a window pane to fall suddenly?” she asks.
The 198 houses built under the scheme were allotted to slum dwellers in the locality at a nominal cost of `38,000-`40,000 depending on their poverty status. The one BHK houses are almost 380 sq ft in size and come without any basic amenities.
“The house is just four walls with a bathroom and toilet. There are no switch boards or even a place for a gas connection in the kitchen. We spent money and made it liveable,” says Anna, a resident. Having moved in just four months ago, Anna and her family were forced to stay in a relative’s house one night due to water seepage in the bedroom walls. “The ceiling started leaking and the plaster started falling off. Water even got into the bulbs and the switches and my brother got an electrical shock when he went to switch off the light,” she says.
The biggest problem residents say is the lack of electricity. “When we were allotted the house five months ago all that the building had was empty meter boxes. We used candles and lanterns the first few days but when repeated visits to the slum board authorities yielded no results we started taking electricity directly from the poles,” says Hemaraj who stays with his family of five on the fourth floor.
“We have children who need to study and electricity is a basic necessity nowadays.” he says. The residents on the ground floor of all the blocks store shoes and other household items in the meter boxes. When told that they steal electricity, Hemaraj quickly pointed out that they have permission.
“The slum board authorities told us that we can take electricity directly from the pole till BESCOM provides us with the connection. When we went to the BESCOM office, they said the slum board has to do the necessary paperwork,” he explains.
In addition to poor construction and no power, the residents also face water shortage. “The sump located at ground level cannot supply water to the top floors as there is no motor connection. The residents have to come down and fill water,” explains Rosamma. Residents of certain blocks have pooled in money and got a motor fixed to the sump. “Most of the residents staying on the top floor are senior citizens and they cannot come down and fill water in pots everyday,” she explains.
When contacted, the Karnataka Slum Board authorities blamed the residents. “We have inspected the houses and everything is in place. There are no cracks or broken window panes,” said Prakash, Assistant Engineer, Karnataka Slum Development Board. “BESCOM authorities have to supply power, what can we do if they are not?.” he asked.
(All names have been changed)