Bindu and her family of 13 were forced to shift to a public toilet in 2012 after the Mysuru Corporation razed their hutments to the ground.

Apathy forced this Ktaka family to live in a toilet for 7 yrs They now face eviction
news Human Interest Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 17:23

The harrowing story of a family living in a public toilet due to government apathy and lack of facilities has come to light in Mysuru, Karnataka. A family of 13 people – including seven children – who were living in a public toilet in Kalpavruksha Nagar, was asked to vacate the property on Tuesday morning by the Mysuru City Corporation Councilor Pradeep.

For 34-year-old Bindu, who moved into the public toilet due to dire circumstances, there is nowhere to go. The 13 people that include her parents, her two children and her sister’s family, are now fearful of being compelled to live on the streets again, without any help from the government.

It all started in 2012, when Bindu, a daily wage labourer, and her family, were forced to live on the streets after the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) razed the hutment she lived in, which was located in Kalpavriksha Nagar near the Siddappa Temple.

 “Seven years ago, the corporation officials had promised everyone living there that we would be given new houses near Amrutha Layout. However, people had to pay the officials Rs 25,000 in bribe to get the house. While some of them did, many did not get a house despite paying the bribe,” Bindu alleges.

It was during the monsoon that this happened. After her hutment was razed to the ground, Bindu and her family were forced to live in an open space in an empty plot of land, with her belongings strewn about, and no roof over her head to provide shelter from the rain. Her daughter – then eight months old – fell ill due to the rain. So, people living in the houses near the empty plot advised Bindu to move into the public toilet temporarily so she would have a roof over her head.

“The people there helped me clean up the public toilet and I moved there with my belongings. I had no money and when the officials demolished our houses, I had nowhere else to go,” Bindu tells TNM.

Government response

On Tuesday, Bindu says that  the corporator of Rajendra Nagar, Pradeep Chandra, had come to the public toilet and asked her to vacate the premises.

“They are living there illegally. She does not have any identity documents and people have to use public toilets. So, we asked her to move into a hutment nearby and vacate the public toilet,” Pradeep Chandra says.

However, Bindu alleges that the hutments located near the public toilet belong to other daily wage workers, and she and her family have not been allowed to go there in the past. “Why would we want to live in a toilet if we have a hutment? We are not allowed to go and live there. People look down upon us and call us names as we have been living inside the toilet for years. The corporator does not understand our problem,” she says.

On Tuesday evening, Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru, Abhiram Shankar also visited Bindu and her family members and assured her that she could stay in the public toilet until the MCC officials could get her a new house.

“I have directed the MCC officials to not vacate them from the toilet. I have directed them to provide transit accommodation for the family,” DC Abhiram tells TNM.

However, corporator Pradeep says that since Bindu does not have any identity documents, the corporation cannot help her avail any facilities until she obtains an Aadhaar card. But Bindu says that it is not as though she has not tried to get documents. “I have asked the corporation officials many times to help me get an Aadhaar card. I am not getting ration either because I don’t have the ID proof,” Bindu says.

DC Abhiram says that he has directed the MCC officials to help Bindu and her family get Aadhaar cards so they can avail the PDS and other schemes meant for below poverty line families. “We will ensure that she gets a house,” he says.

However, Bindu says that she is scared of the corporator, and the MCC officials as they have intimidated her in the past as well. “They keep telling us to move out. This is not the first time they have promised a house. Every time, it’s the same thing. Just because I am not educated, they are trying to intimidate me. I have no money. The only money I make is by working as a daily wage labourer. I help lay roads and repair potholes. I barely make Rs 4,000 per month. How can they ask me to move out on such short notice?” she questions. 

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