The other day we visited Maninagar with Dakxin Bajrange. Maninagar is now little more than a street lined with tents. The people there used to have homes, homes that they had lived in since the 60s. Their children used to go to school here. That was before the city decided to develop their land, bulldozing their homes. Even their meager tents are routinely knocked down. Now the children don’t go to school anymore.
The people who live in Maninagar are members of formerly nomadic tribes. Now they have been forced to become nomadic again. Roxy Gagdekar explains:
“We are living here since ’60, I don’t know why we are being forced to move away from here. We have Election cards, Ration cards and all other residential testimonials. But no one is ready to hear us.” says Ramswaroop Sansi (50), the local leader of Sansi Basti.
191 families lives in this ghetto, which includes people of Sansi, Rajbhoi, Vaghri and Dom tribes. Almost all of them are forced to again become Nomads. Because their huts have been broken for 10 times since 2004. “We have to spend Rs.1000 to 1500 to reconstruct our huts. The corporation authorities even takes away the scraps with them after breaking our huts.” Says Mukesh Sansi, a resident of this area. As the residents here have no other place to live they comes to the same place again and reconstruct their huts.
By law, nomadic peoples who were (often forcibly) settled before 1965 should be provided with alternative land if the city encroaches upon their territory, but that has not happened here.
Please write and tell the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to give the residents of Maninagar somewhere to live!
UPDATE: More from Shashwati.