Saturday, November 17, 2012

Development in Gujarat:

We fail to provide food, clothing and shelter, still we are developed;
We fail to provide water and sanitation, still we are developed;
We fail to provide livelihood options, employment opportunities, still we are developed;
We fail to provide primary education, still we are developed;
We fail to provide healthcare, still we are developed;
We fail to provide public transpor
tation, still we are developed;
We fail to provide electricity, still we are developed;
We fail to provide grazing and agricultural land to pastoralists and farmers, still we are developed;
We fail to provide low cost housing, still we are developed;
We fail to provide equal opportunities to diverse communities, still we are developed;
We fail to implement various development schemes meant for marginalized, still we are developed;
We fail to prevent human rights violation, still we are developed;
Do we really aim for ‘real’ development in Gujarat?

Piplaj - life hanging by a thin thread

Does development mean benefiting one section at the cost of other? The development in the name of Mega City is displacing the poor away from the city. This kind of development increases poor people’s struggle of survival and makes them poorer. The development taking shape in our city ‘Ahmedabad’ has adversely affected the livelihood of poor. The development in the city should be inclusive of the poor within the city. But recent years Ahmedabad’s development schemes have excluded the poor altogether.

The residents of Piplaj used to live dignified life in areas like Dani Limda, Behrampura, Khodiyarnagar, Allahnagar, Shankar Bhuvan. They were not employed under any Government schemes. This people used to contribute in growth of the State’s income either by doing small businesses or vending. Most of the people were engaged in small labour works, vending of vegetables, breaking tin cans, thread cutting, peddle rickshaw driving, auto rickshaw driving, pyala baini (exchanging old clothes for utensils), etc. They were shifted from their 30-40 years of residence to a place like Ganeshnagar, Piplaj. Away from home, away from their workplace.

Although, the poor resisted moving away, they were forced to the Ahmedabad outskirts. Their own homes where they have lived since their childhood were demolished. Did the Government fulfill the promises made to these people? While shifting to Piplaj, each family where given a temporary rehabilitation, Rs 5000 and an open plot where they were told to construct their houses. Besides, all their belongings were thrown while demolishing their houses. You tell me friends, is it possible to construct a house with this much amount? And that to at a place where for miles, nothing is available. This people didn’t even have warm clothes for the upcoming winter season.

Every day was a struggle to travel miles to reach their place of livelihood. Some of them earn around Rs 100 a day and it costs Rs 60 to and fro their place of livelihood. There were no facilities and there are still no facilities. There is no health care, ration shop, roads, drainage, or frequent transportation service. Some of them are living here since 7 years now. In January 2012, AMC finally started a school here (as per These families survived the rehabilitation.

The temporary rehabilitation was for 12-15 months. Some of them are being allotted houses now at Vatva. With this new allotment the temporary rehabilitation at Piplaj is being demolished (oh no, not again) which has been built by the people. Surprisingly, they have light connection and house tax bills in their own names. Apart from repeated rehabilitation which is ruining the stability of children, the new houses being allotted in Vatva don’t belong to this people. Not so far, they have to pay a small amount of down payment and then monthly installments. After 10 years, this new houses allotted to them will be their own! What a farce! First removing from one’s own home, then rehabilitating temporarily and then again rehabilitating which doesn’t belong to this people for a long time. And who has seen 10 years from now? Some new development scheme may displace them from their newly allotted homes too?