Bengaluru: Residents of Pottery Town have launched a campaign against the upcoming Metro line that runs between Gottigere and Nagawara as part of Phase 2 of Namma Metro. Around 40 families face the threat of displacement as the Metro line runs through the 200-year-old neighbourhood, the campaign was launched to convince the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to spare their properties and to provide for alternate arrangements.
BMRCL is constructing an underground metro station and soil testing for the process has already commenced. Pottery Town is home to many families that depend on the art of pot making for a living. The small lane located in Benson Town acts as a manufacturer and whole-sale distributor of pots and other clay work. It is famous for its Ganesha idols during festival season and with the recent plastic bans business has only started booming.
G.Rajshekhar, one of the artisans who has been working in Pottery Town for the past 30 years, said, "The BMRCL didn’t give us any notice, they just marked our properties for the Metro project. They haven’t even gotten back to us after we made a request for compensation or rehabilitation."
Like Rajshekhar, about 42 other artisans and their families have been asked to move out of their current establishments with no promise of compensation or rehabilitation. The people insist on preserving their art and have alleged that they have been asked to vacate without prior notice.
"We are not asking for money. All we want is a place to work." Said Dinakaran, another member of the heritage site. "Pottery and clay making require effort and space, which is why we are pleading the government to not take away our only means of income."
The potters have requested the BMRCL to leave at least half of the land so that they can continue their work.
"We have requested the government to save some of the land for us. However, we still have no clue as to what is being removed and what will stay." said Chandru, another artisan.
Currently, the Featherlight Public School is being used as a storage site for the construction materials of the project. The premises of the school have been marked by the BMRCL and entry is restricted.
When asked about their plans if the Metro project comes to fruition, all the artisans said they had no plan for the future as it would be very difficult for them to shift out of their current establishments and open shops somewhere else.
Dinakaran said "We have no option, we’ll have to look for other jobs. One or two families may adjust but there are 40 families depending on this line of work. We don’t know what else we can do".
"We didn’t have time to plan for such things, we never thought something like this would happen. If the town is destroyed, all the talented artists will get unemployed and it will be very difficult for them to find a job. All the talent will go to waste and four generation of heritage will come to an end." warned Rajshekhar.