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Legislation required to ensure poor citizens their 'right to shelter': GBGBA
A full front page advertisement on the first anniversary of the smart cities that ran on many national dailies on Saturday carried announcements worth Rupees thousands of crores. Crores of Rupees had been spent on advertisements and the fancy event, which was organized in Pune on Saturday to celebrate the first anniversary of smart cities.
Ghar Bachao-Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) in a release called it an event aimed at grabbing eyeballs of the readers to assure that how much the NDA government is committed to bring 'Achhe Din'. However, the rampant demolition drive taking place in various cities by evicting poor, presents a contracting picture.

A small review of the execution of plans on the ground will tell the reality: The ambitious 'Smart Cities' plan is accompanied by two other plans concerning urban 'development' - Atal Mission for Urban Transformation and Rejuvenation (AMRUT) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

Maharashtra: In Maharashtra, the government offer rehabilitation to the slum dwellers of pre-2000 year. Even under PMAY, the central government has left it on the state government to decide cut-off-date, which means that only those persons who will respect the cut-off-date will get benefit under PMAY while the rest will be left on the mercy of the state to be evicted anytime.

Odisha: In Bhubaneswar, it was revealed through an RTI query that 50,000 people of 10,000 families residing in 24 slums across the capital city of Bhubaneswar will be evicted to pave the way for implementation of Smart City projects.

Himachal Pradesh: The local administration had on 17th June, evicted 300 families flouting all rules and regulation and violating Supreme Court's judgment against demolition during monsoons only to pave way for 'smart cities'. This was a 30 years old slum. No relief has been given to evicted slum dwellers till today.

Madhya Pradesh: In a similar fashion as above, more than 1200 families were rendered homeless last month in Indore only to pave way for 'smart cities' plan, against the High Court's order.

In a statement Ghar Bachao-Ghar Banao Andolan said that it had urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop spending crores on advertisements but come up with strict laws and rules to protect the rights of the poor. It is a high time that the Government of India formulate a legislation which would ensure poor citizens their 'right to shelter'.

Urban poor have been lured during election times with various housing schemes and policies. These schemes and policies changed every time with the change in power. So, only a legislation can guarantee a shelter if it comes into being, said GBGBA.

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