Hampi inhabitants still live in tents

Hampi inhabitants still live in tents: A year after their lives changed forever, victims of forced eviction at Hampi, a Unesco World Heritage Site have continued to suffer great hardship as they struggle with homelessness and loss of property. Nearly 350 families largely from Hampi Bazaar Street opposite the majestic 15th-century Virupaksha are still living under tarps and tents. The affected residents initially squatted with neighbours and friends soon after state government promised them to provide a new site and give them compensation to build new homes.

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Live in tents

Hampi-inhabitantsBut after they realized that it was not coming, they decided to live in tents. " Those that are really affected are those who lost their homes and are completely displaced," said Govindaraju, a leader of displaced people who continues to hold demonstration in front of Hampi Development Authority (HAD) office to denounce the broken promises of Karnataka government to provide housing for victims.

On the directions from the Archaeological survey of India (ASI), HDA had undertaken the eviction to "cleanse the temple town and restore it to its golden era'' late last year. This was after a Unesco team visited the place and expressed concern over illegal constructions and drug peddling, particularly at Bazaar Street and Virpapurgadda, an island located in the reserve forest area. Chastened by Unesco's threat, the authorities prepared an action plan and framed town-planning guidelines to ensure the town is free from encroachments, illegal activities and hippies.

The worst affected were those people who lived in the shadows of the temples building shops and homes. The drive came as a bolt from the blue for the poor legal shop owners as they hadn't been given prior notice. Most of the people are spent months, including during a spell of heavy rains, in a tent, while some spent nights on streets, abandoned vehicles and friends' sofas.

However, the tourism and Bellary district in-charge minister Anand Singh said the government is already in the process of building houses for evicted victims and they would allot house within next 4-5 months. We have already taken up development of roads and formation of layouts. The delay is largely because rocks surround Hampi and it is creating lot of hindrance in taking up development works mainly in creating drains and digging foundations. Come what may we will complete all the work in the next four months,'' he added.

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