The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has served eviction notices to 45 families living in a slum area near the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host United States President Donald Trump at an event at the stadium later this month.
While the residents alleged that they have been asked to leave because of this upcoming event, the civic body has denied it.
Trump will visit Ahmedabad and New Delhi on February 24 and 25. Modi and Trump will hold a roadshow in Ahmedabad. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is also erecting a wall along the road connecting the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge, allegedly to mask a slum in the city. About 1.25 lakh people are expected to attend the event at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium.
“The AMC officials who came to serve the notices asked us to vacate as soon as possible,” a 35-year-old construction worker, Teja Meda, told the newspaper. Meda claimed to have been living in the slum for 22 years. “They told us that the head of the United States is visiting Motera stadium and they wanted us to move out.”
Meda alleged that the authorities told them not to go to work on Monday as they had to be present to be served the notices. “All of us are construction workers, registered with Majur Adhikar Manch and on an average we earn Rs 300 daily,” Meda said.
About 65 families live nearly 1.5 km from the stadium. Of these 45 families, consisting of about 200 people, were served the notices by the civic body’s Estate and Town Development Department. The notice says that the “encroached” land belonged to the civic body and was part of a town planning scheme. It asked the slum-dwellers to evict in seven days. Though the notice was issued on Monday, it was dated February 11, according to which the deadline is Tuesday.
“Go wherever you want to, is what the officials said when we asked them about our fate,” 24-year-old Pankaj Damor, who drives vehicles for the civic body on a contractual basis, said. He is from Dahod district in Gujarat. “Every family has at least four members or more. Where will we all shift in such a short duration?”
Another person from Dahod, Mukesh Bambaniya, said: “We came to Ahmedabad looking for a better life. Now that we have been asked to leave, what will happen to our children?” The 34-year-old has four children, two of whom study in a nearby school.
Assistant Taluk Development Officer (Motera) at the Usmanpura office of AMC, Kishore Varna, signed the notices. “These slum-dwellers had encroached upon a land under one of the town planning schemes and hence were served notices,” he said, adding that it had “nothing to do” with Trump’s visit. “There are some elements who are trying to take advantage of the event.”
The municipal corporation’s Deputy Estate Officer (West Zone) Chaitanya Shah said the eviction notices had no connection with the “Namaste Trump” event. “They [slum-dwellers] have been served the eviction notice under the provisions of the Town Planning Act and it has nothing to do with Trump’s visit,” he told NDTV. “The plot belongs to the AMC. The notice was served as the site survey conducted in January found that the plot had been encroached upon.”