Gujarat police on Monday lathicharged the crowd which had gathered outside Gujarat Housing Board (GHB) office in Ahmedabad to collect forms for cheap houses.
Several people, including women, disabled people and senior citizens, were injured in the incident.
Thousands of home seekers who had lined up for the promised forms had to suffer police atrocity instead in their attempts to benefit from GHB’s upcoming residential schemes.
Following GHB\\\’s chief Barot’s media statement on Wednesday about distribution of forms for the schemes from Monday onwards, people from different parts of Ahmedabad as well as from surrounding areas started queuing up at the board’s main office since midnight.
In a desperate effort to checkmate the overwhelming response to the announcement of Gujarat Congress for providing affordable housing to housewives if voted to power, Modi government had announced the launch of seven projects in the state, offering 6,300 housing units, for people with various income groups.
On August 23, it was also widely reported in local media that forms will be distributed from Monday morning for the new cheap houses, which were promised to be built by GHB shortly.
The crowd swelled to 3,000 by the morning and police resorted to lathi-charge when crowd got impatient to collect the forms and refused to leave when they were told that the forms were not even printed.
The people who came there to realise their dreams of owning their own house and when it dissipated, they started hooting name of chief minister Narendra Modi while demanding the promised forms.
Interestingly, the government’s announcement comes in retaliation to the scheme by Gujarat Congress, \\\’Ghar nu Ghar\\\’, for every housewife of the state. The scheme became instant hit with almost 30 lakh forms distributed across the state within a few days. Shaken by the public response to the scheme, the state government activated GHB, its low cost housing construction arm, which was virtually lying dormant for past several years.
For over a decade, GHB refused to launch a housing scheme citing no demand for affordable houses, which helped private builders who charge high prices.
Meanwhile, activists and social groups have condemned the police lathicharge on the crowd, including women and senior citizens, and said the Modi government was playing a cruel joke on the poor people by promising houses through a near-defunct board that was in no position to deliver.