Odisha: Sans rehabilitation, homeless family forced to live in abandoned community toilet

However, despite it being over a year, the plight of this homeless family remains to be acknowledged by the CMC.
Bichhu and his family in front of the community toilet at Murad Khan Patna
Bichhu and his family in front of the community toilet at Murad Khan Patna Photo | Express

CUTTACK: Despite tall claims by the government of providing proper housing facilities to the urban poor community, a homeless five-member family here has been residing at an abandoned community toilet at Murad Khan Patna in Jobra for over a year pointing at the apathy of the CMC in ensuring proper rehabilitation to slum dwellers.

Thirty-year-old Bichhu Naik, a daily wager, initially lived at Jay Maa Mangala slum near SCB medical college and hospital along with his family comprising his mother, wife and two minor children.

However in July 2010, CMC demolished the slum owing to which Bichhu’s and the other 239 families residing there were evicted from the area. Left to fend for themselves, the family then moved to a rented accommodation in Chauliaganj. Their misery, however, did not end here. With a meagre salary and responsibility to feed a family of five, Bichhu was unable to pay the rent and was forced to vacate the house.

Having left with no other option, the family shifted to the community toilet at Murad Khan Patna Sweeper Colony in ward no 41 which was at that time lying unused and in a dilapidated condition.

Sources said the community toilet was constructed by the CMC back in 2010 and later renovated in around 2018-19 at a cost of Rs 18 lakh. Though it was well-maintained for a few years, the toilet soon faced issues with electricity and water supply, making it unsuitable for use by public and lying neglected. It was then that Bichhu and his family moved in.

“The toilet was lying abandoned with no water or power supply. Bushes and creepers had grown on its premises making it a snakes’ pit. We cleaned the premises and now have been living here for over a year,” Bichhu said.

Locals said the toilet became usable after Bichhu’s family began living there. Apart from keeping it clean, the family brings water from a nearby tubewell which is used by them as well as a few people who use the facility.

However, despite it being over a year, the plight of this homeless family remains to be acknowledged by the CMC. Local corporator Swarna Prabha Pashayat said she had taken the matter to the CMC authorities several times in the past urging them to rehabilitate Bichhu’s family but to no avail. Worse, the family doesn’t have a ration card and Bichhu’s mother, despite being a widow, is devoid of receiving any pension.

Contacted, CMC mayor Subhas Singh said the matter will be looked into and necessary steps taken accordingly.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com