BENGALURU: For residents of Avani Sringeri Nagar, the irony could not have been more cruel. First they invested all they had to build homes, now they are now contributing to the demolition of these houses.
“We paid to build our house and now we are paying to demolish them,” laments a resident of Avani Sringeri Nagar, Bommanahalli zone, whose house was marked by BBMP for demolition for aerial encroachment (the upper floor or roof of the building encroaching over a raja kaluve).
Many other residents of the area too have taken up the onus of clearing the encroachments upon themselves. Residents have shelled out almost Rs 5 lakh from their own pockets to bring down their dream houses to ensure that minimum damage is caused to the foundation of their buildings.
The eviction drive started on August 5 and on Friday two of the total nine houses marked were totally demolished. After much hue and cry, locals managed to stop BBMP bulldozers from making more damage as they promised to take up the demolition.
Currently, owners of seven houses have taken up various measures to demolish the marked portion of their houses that have encroached on the storm water drains (SWDs). Nagraja Lakkisetty, a 61-year-old resident, says, “Three pillars of my house were marked for demolition. These are the main support system of the structure. If the BBMP removes them haphazardly, the entire building will fall apart. So, we decided to do it ourselves. In the last one week, I have spent Rs 1 lakh for this. ”
Nagraj’s daughter-in-law Jyotshna points out, “This house was constructed just two years ago. Now, we have to pay an installment on the loan amounting to Rs 30,000 a month, apart from doing the demolition ourselves. Nobody is bothered about how are we living or surviving. We have been staying at a relative’s place, but how long can we do that? Our tenants have also left the building. We are losing money from all corners. The government should give us some compensation for the trouble we went through for the mistakes of civic agencies.”
Anand Padmanav, a 65-year-old, who stays with his son and wife in Chennai, but has rented his building out, says, “Luckily, I was here on the day of demolition. Just before that day, I had finished constructing the upper floor. Now, all is gone. I have spent Rs 5 lakh to carry out the demolition. It took about Rs 42 lakh for me to build the earlier house. After the demolition, I will have to remake the structure as well. I will have to shell out atleast Rs 15 lakh. And I had to give away 240 sq feet of my land.”
The residents have employed a private engineer to carry out the demolition work. Jason, a civil engineer and a tenant to Padmanav, who has been helping the residents in demolishing the structures, says, “We are raising the columns of the building, supporting the buildings with new pillars and partitioning the walls before demolishing the marked areas, so that the structure does not collapse. We are trying to finish the work as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, the BBMP has started digging the ground where encroachment has been cleared out for the raja kaluves to flow in this locality.