Open Letter to BBMP Commissioner Sri Sri N Manjunath Prasad, IAS
Based on frantic calls received by those effected by the Demolition Drive.
The writer honestly has not visited these areas (verified facts through Media reports though)
No government can survive being anti-people. I have known this to be the only truth for governance; however we routinely see many actions that are not only anti-people but blatantly against the spirit of humanity.
I’m not talking of some remote Syria-Iraq-ISIS controlled area or Russian occupied Ukraine or even about China occupied Tibet & Xinjiang province. I’m not even referring to some dictator ruled banana republic. Here I want draw attention to the largest Democratic country and it’s eight largest state ‘Karnataka’.
My state Karnataka, that we are so proud of.
Karnataka that produced Raja Rishis like Basavana, Vidhyaranya and Krishna Raja Wodeyar has been reduced to a fascist state. You think I’m exaggerating?
Let me tell you a few happenings in the capital city of Bengaluru. On Shatter-day 6 August 2016 our great BBMP woke and decided to clear the Raja-Kaluve illegal occupation and bulldoze all the buildings built on these important storm drains in some areas of the city.
Nothing wrong, in fact commendable work by the officials.
Oh! however they forgot to inform (Official term Notify) to the residents that the houses that they were living in for 40 years or more; the house that was sanctioned by the previous BBMP Engineer (In some cases the serving one), the house that still carried an EMI from the re/construction loan to the nearest bank, the house that they paid property taxes to the same BBMP for so many years, the house that they had tried to make a home by working 15 hours a day in their small petty tea shop, that the same home would be demolished in less than 20 minutes.
Why Mr. Commissioner? why are so insensitive, why are you so anti-people? why are you so Storm drain loving that you forgot that the monsoons started two months ago (Even the Met Dept got the dates right this time)? Why did you not give them enough time make alternative arrangements?
IS THERE A METHOD TO YOUR MADNESS SIR?
I would like know now; since you have so chivalrously continued with your Raja-kaluve clearing drive for 3 more days after shatter-day, What scientific methodology has been followed in your pursuit of water conservation that this city needs so badly?
Like I said earlier no Government can survive being Anti-people, so why is common man feeling that you are going against the small fish while the land-sharks and whales are left out of your demolish-net?
I request you to kindly publish a plan of action of your demolition drive and explain why the choices of location have been in the that order of priority.
Even if you say that the BBMP are moving in concentric circles from the centre of the city to the periphery or vice-versa is good enough. The people of this great state and this punyakoti-like city (all Kannadigas will ‘get’ this) would like to know the method to your madness sir.
Also, isn’t it true that the government having received taxes from these properties for so many years must also take responsibility of relocating them, even though they sell tea they don’t want to be the Prime Minister, they just want a 20 feet by 20 feet plot on which stood an even smaller house.
You can guess that I’m writing this because hundreds of houses have been demolished and thousands displaced. I’m made to understand that some pregnant lady was thrown out her home and dozens of senior citizens spent their first night (after Demolition!!) under the open starless night, sorry Bengaluru sky is too polluted for the stars to be visible.
Well! Nothing new, we have had Kashmiri refugees all over the country for 25 years now (never mind that its an oxymoron to be refugee in one’s own nation). So what if a few Benglaurians have become refugees in their own city; we can not give them camps because they are not political refugees from neighbouring counties. So sorry no such luck.
You might be reminded that yours truly while playing news analyst on television had repeatedly hammered the importance of clearing Raja-Kaluves and collection of monsoon water. I still stand by it, the natural drains that populate our lakes must be protected and illegal occupants must be evacuated.
However, this must be done in a humane manner. Mr. Commissioner; give them adequate time to find alternative dwellings if not homes. Return the Illegal-Taxes collected with interest, fire the officials who sanctioned the plans, start legal actions on land-shark-illegal-layout-developers and more importantly do all this before monsoons, so that the purpose for which you are running this demolition drive is more fruitful.
We have only 1/3rd of the monsoon left this year, so my suggestion is that you stop these demolitions now and plans for next year that way you and those future refugees both will have enough time to plan your opus to a grand success. what say??
If you like my ramblings, I request a 10 minute appointment to speak about the other side of story. What say, will you humour me with an interface??
9 August 2016
Also mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (Don’t know if it can still be called open letter)