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Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

Resisting evictions at Gardanibagh Rd. no. 11 (11.07.18)

Chronicle and reflections on popular resistance from July to September 2018 against thousands of evictions, hidden product of the construction of smart cities. The battle continues.

Smart cities….Smart cities…. had been a slogan some months ago; little did our people realize that the axe would fall on them; that they would have to pay the price for the making of a “smart city.”  We had raised this issue at the Chief Minister’s “Jan Samvad” on 04, December 2017, and were rather shocked to know that there was an online survey undertaken and some 10 lakh people were in favor of a Smart City.  My response was Sir, who are these 10 lakh people, what about those who will be affected by this development project.  There was no response to this..as if the people who would be affected did not matter.

Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

Bulldozer (11.07.18)

Recently since the month of July we have been investing a lot of our time with our communities who live in very inhuman conditions.  The first attack came on the 11th  July at Gardanibagh  road no. 11, 28 , 29  when all of a sudden there were bulldozers and police force that came and mercilessly demolished the huts of the people.  People faced the bulldozers and when we appeared on the scene and asked what was happening, there were threats to arrest us and lodge an FIR against us.  They wanted even to snatch away our phones as we were taking photographs.  The very next day, we sat on dharna and there was a good turn out, we joined hands with the CPI (L).

The administration has lost their humanness and so on the 12th  again they attacked Gardanibagh Road no. 15 and the adjoining areas, we were quite taken aback as we did not expect this to happen after we sat on dharna the previous day.  We did not know what was happening.  All we heard that it was removal of encroachment.  Along with this it was told that the order is from the High court.  How can we keep quiet in the face of such gross violation of human rights..we tried to meet the different officials along with the MLA but to no avail, this madness continues in the city.

Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

At the concluding point rally (23.07.18)

On the 23, July we organized a rally and the turn out was huge , the traffic was blocked at a very important point of the city when the Assembly was in session.  We had hope that this would stop…like always the memorandum was received and no one ready to meet the people, so much about respect ….as to why have people been forced to take to the streets leaving their work and their homes..

As if this was not enough the vendors were attacked next, the roads were cleared, their goods confiscated… they were heavily fined…  but we thought like always after another day or two they can set up their shops but that was not to happen.  The orders were given to each police station to keep patrolling and not allow the shops to be put up.  We met the Chief Secretary and he assured us that vending zones are in the process of being identified but in the meantime till that does not happen the Street Vendors Act 2014 has to be honored but no one listened , the lathis kept working and there were situations of near to hunger in the city but who bothers…

Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

Eviction along Railway Line

Gradually we came to know that MR Shah – the relative of Amit Shah has been sent to Patna as Chief Justice to clear Patna and to begin the making of a “Smart City” .  He said he cleared Ahmedabad and made it a smart city, what is Patna??  No one dares to speak since there is a direction from the High Court.  There are as many as 19 cases against eviction but he does not take it up.

There has been a clean drive, the entire administration from the DM, SDM, CO all are engaged with police force, JCB’s in demolishing encroachment.  There are no announcements, anyone who comes to speak up is either arrested or FIR lodged.  If people go back and resettle there is a fine of 20,000/- such undemocratic processes in place.  No political party, no members of civil society are prepared to speak up..Majority of the people are happy as roads are being widened at a very speed.  In no time, machines are being used and work continues even at night.  If even 10% of this interest was shown in constructing houses for the urban poor it would be appreciated.

Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

In solidarity - dhrna (13.07.18)

Thousands of people living along the railway tracks were demolished on the 11th  and 12th  September.   Notices were given to some and they were asked to be present in the court of the SDM on 28th  August.   With the help of a lawyer we drafted a response and each person who got the notice went and personally presented their case but the SDM was not present and the District Magistrate says that we do not have to rehabilitate them.  The SDM speaks the same language we don’t have to resettle or rehabilitate people.  The response to the notice has not been honoured, huts have been demolished

Who are these people?  People who have been living in the city and offering their services for the past 30 to 40 years,  they have all their entitlements, they are on the voter list and yet they are being treated as if they are encroachers.  The Chief Minister is not available for dialogue.  We have taken the support of the opposition party, the ex Chief Minister – Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has taken the lead to raise the issue before the government.  This is positive for the people.

Patna, Bihar, India: People’s power…People’s struggle to face evictions because smart city

With representatives of vendors & housing

In collaboration with HAM ( Hindustani Awam Morcha ) and under the leadership of Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi, we organized a rally on the 23, September.  We had some thousands of vendors and homeless communities’ took to the streets to demand their rights.  People are really agitated with the manner in which the eviction operation is taking place, there is no respite, disrespect for people and confiscation of goods.  There is a deafening silence in all circles and no one wishes to raise the issue as to what is the meaning of encroachment.  There is a very close nexus between the administration and the judiciary.

It’s a pathetic situation facing Patna, rent of one room houses have risen tremendously 5000/- per month, people earn something like 6 to 7 thousand by both husband and wife and are wondering how will they manage their lives;  children’s school has been disrupted; life has been throw open just with the bulldozer, no notices, not even an opportunity to ask questions, or put your truth, abusive language is used and the human person has been disrobed at the ltar of “Smart Cities”…is this what Bihar, Patna requires which is lowest in all the indexes and according to the UNDP report Bihar comes last in the area of development and on all counts.

There’s a total collapse of Governance… corruption to its height and development that is lopsided is the order of the day.  Its under such barbarious situations, we raise our voices for help to the Human community, the Earth community….will someone her our pleas for help..??


Smart cities , evictions


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