Thursday, November 17, 2005


Day 6. A bit of anti-climax. The state seems to give in, and agrees to rehabilitate the squatters.

The Indian Express reports: For the squatters at the Gobindapur railway colony near Rabindra Sarovar, the State Government held out a ray of hope today. With 30,000-odd people facing eviction by the end of this month, the State Government has now statred looking for alternative land for their relocation.

This is in sharp contrast to its earlier stand that the State Government cannot provide for the rehabilitation of the squatters.


Why is the volte-face? Ashok Bhattacharya, state minister for urban development, says that it's on humanitarian grounds that "we are arranging for their rehabilitation." Ha Ha.

The fact is that the state goes to general election next year, and considers it a bit risky to evict a population forcibly with any repressive measure. Though the leftists today no longer care about this poor mass, they're not too sure that the eviction would not reflect in the election result.

But could there be any design in this volte-face? Is the government playing any tricks with the squatters? A TV news-item says that the squatters are not really amused by the minister's announcement. They view it with suspicion, and demands the promises to be given to them in writing.

Anyway, the suspense still remains.

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