Study documents 34 smart city projects forcibly displacing 17,700 people last year

A just-released study, "Forced Evictions in India in 2018: An Unabating National Crisis", prepared by the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), New Delhi, has said, it has documented forced evictions in 34 of the 100 ‘smart cities’ being developed across the country." The study, which documents evictions across India because of different types of development projects, says says, smart cities alone displaced 17,700 people.
Among the glaring examples it cites include the Tamil Nadu government demolishing about 1,700 homes (of over 4,200 identifed houses) for a ‘smart city’ project related to restoration of water bodies in Coimbatore, and in Thanjavur, where over 130 homes were demolished for a ‘smart city’ project to renovate a moat.
Then, HLRN says, un Nagpur, Maharashtra, 12 homes were destroyed for the Pardi Flyover, as part of the ‘smart city’ development work. In Machhi Bazaar, Indore, 455 families lost housing as a result of a road-widening ‘smart city’ project.
Further, it adds, the Bhopal Municipal Corporation demolished over 150 houses in Ahata Rustam Khan and Pratap Nagar in Bhopal, for the construction of a “smart road” under the auspices of the Smart Cities Mission being implemented by Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited. Another 150 houses are threatened with demolition for the same project.
Alao, in 2018, HLRN says, about 4,500 people lost their homes for the development of the Rs 600 crore (60 million) ‘Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor’ in Varanasi. The project is part of the development of Varanasi as a ‘smart city.’ Most of the affected families were living on rent in the area for generations and were engaged in small and medium businesses.

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