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Slum rights to take stage

Youngsters, political leaders, crusaders and causes will all be under the spotlight at the annual meet of Basti Vikas Samiti, the frontrunner in the crusade for ownership rights of 109 Jamshedpur slums.

The meet on February 11 and 12 at Agrico Ground has a two-fold agenda, said Basti Vikas Samiti president Rambabu Tiwari.

One, it aims at creating awareness about environment and hygiene among youngsters in slums, catching them young to make elders aware of the real dangers posed by mounds of garbage to human health and the ecology.

Two, it will draw up a strategy to launch an agitation against Jharkhand government, which Basti Vikas Samiti claims is dilly-dallying about granting ownership rights to slums outside Tata Steel lease area.

For the first, the organisation on February 11 will host a mass essay writing competition on ‘your city, environment and pollution’ among students residing in the slums.

“We want students to air their views on environment, pollution and its impact on their city. It’s an effective way of making them understand that dirt is one of the main factors behind vector-borne diseases like chikungunya and dengue. We’re hoping that the essays will also spur their zeal in keeping their homes clean,” said Tiwari.

On Day Two, February 12, an open meeting at Agrico Ground is expected to have a turnout of more than 10, 000 residents of slums. Political thinker Govindacharya, Jamshedpur East MLA Raghubar Das, Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani and environmentalist Gopal Krishnan will be some of the stars at the show.

The heavyweights will address the masses on the topics of pollution, environment and development.

The Samiti’s members will chalk out a strategy to launch an agitation against state government to grant ownership rights to slum-dwellers.

“We have heard that a survey of the slums is complete and the report has been submitted to the state. But no steps have been taken to grant us ownership rights. We want the government to hasten the process,” said the leader.

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