The BJP government’s slogan, Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas (all together; for development of all), rings hollow in Juhapura, the largest Muslim-dominated locality of Ahmedabad. Not only has the BRTS ignored this long neglected area, the proposed Metro service between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad will also stop just short of Juhapura.
The proposed Metro (metro-link express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad) is expected to cover 76 km and will run till the Agriculture Product Market Committee (APMC) in Vasna. Juhapura begins a few metres away from the Vasna APMC. Interestingly, the proposed extension plans for the BRTS also stop at Vasna.
This neglect of the locality is puzzling as Juhapura is home to four lakh people, most of whom are urban poor, the middle-income salaried class and self-employed residents. These people could use public transport to the fullest. Rizwan Kadri, an architect and resident of Juhapura, said that it is indeed curious why the Metro and BRTS plans end just before Juhapura. He alleged that this was another example of the state government’s unwillingness to provide Muslims with better infrastructure.
“Extending the Metro and the BRTS from APMC to Sarkhej road and finally to Changodar would be the most logical thing to do as many people who really need these services would benefit. Yet our learned planners have avoided extending them to this potentially profit-making stretch. Is it because the stretch passes through Juhapura?” said Kadri. He further said that the area needs an efficient public transport system as a majority of the people in Juhpura are self-employed or daily-wage earners.
Haji Mirza Baig, a Congress corporator from Sarkhej ward, said bluntly that it was because of the BJP’s political indifference that Juhapura was undeveloped.
“Muslims traditionally have not voted for the BJP. This is why the ruling party doesn’t bother to bring any kind of development to our area,” he said. Baig further alleged that the locality has long been denied basic facilities such adequate availability of piped water, good road infrastructure, drainage and sanitation facilities, good schools and parks.