Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
Forced evictions in Kolkata for the Federation of International Football Associations’ (FIFA). Under-17 World Cup 2017
Bookmark and Share


India will be hosting the2017 FIFA Under-17 (U-17) World Cuptournament for the first time, from 6-28 October 2017. The matches will be played in six cities across the country, including Kolkata in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. In order to ‘beautify’ the city for players and tourists from across the world, the Government of West Bengal, reportedly, has demolished 88houses and rendered 5,000 street vendors and 18,000 rickshaw-pullers without any means of livelihood in Kolkata/Salt Lake City.

Location and Date

The Government of West Bengal carried out the following forced evictions:

· June 2017: Eviction and demolition of homes of 44 families in KB-KC block along the canal in Salt Lake City.

· July 2017: Eviction and demolition of homes of 22 families in IC Block, Salt Lake City.

· 10 September 2017:Demolition of 22 homes in SubhasSarobar for alleged ‘beautification’ofthe lake under Kolkata Municipal Corporation Ward No. 33.

· 10 – 12 September: Evictions of over 500 street vendors in Dum Dum, near the Kolkata airport, and in Salt Lake City/Kolkata (Eastern Metropolitan Bypass Chingrighata and Beleghata CIT Building Crossing).

· 19 to 23 September 2017: Eviction of about 3,500 street vendors and 18,000 rickshaw-pullers, including destruction of a few of their homes, in Salt Lake City.

Affected Population:

In order to celebrate this mega event, the ‘beautification’ drive of the state government has resulted in the forcible removalof about 5,000 street vendors and 18,000 rickshaw-pullers from their places of work in Dum Dum and Salt Lake City, and in the forced eviction of22low-incomefamilies(about 110 persons) from their homes in SubhasSarobar, Kolkata, and44 families along the canal in KB-KC block and 22 families in IC Block of Salt Lake Cityby the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation. On account of an order of the Calcutta High Court,[1] the families evicted from SubhasSarobar have been provided rehabilitation by the state. Thus, at least 440 people have suffered from the loss of their homes.

The eviction of street vendors, hawkers, and rickshaw-pullers from Salt Lake City, reportedly went on for five consecutive days (19–23 September), beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the morning and continuing till 5:00 p.m. in the evening.

The total number of people who lost their livelihoods as a direct result of the FIFA World Cup tournament is 23,000. The impacts of this loss are also suffered by their families who depend on them for their subsistence; thus the affected population is very large.

Allegedly, about 80,000 people living in informal settlements/hutmentsin Salt Lake City continue to face the threat of losing their homes/livelihoods for the FIFA tournament.A recent news report states that at least 7,000 more families face the threat of eviction for the mega sporting event.[2]

Organizations Supporting The Affected Population

1. National Hawkers’ Federation, Kolkata

2. Housing and Land Rights Networks, Delhi

3. Law students’ organizations and students from other institutions in Kolkata

4. Human rights organizations

Short Description

India will be hosting the2017 FIFA U-17 World Cuptournament for the first time. The matches will be played insix stadiumsin six host cities around the country from 6-28 October, with the final taking place at theVivekananda Yuba BharatiKrirangan Stadium, Salt Lake, inKolkata,West Bengal. In order to ‘beautify’ the city for the players and tourists from across the world, the state government has evicted low-income residents living in informal settlements around the vicinity of the stadium as well as vendors, hawkers,rickshaw-pullers, and marginal wage-earners.

With the aim of clearing the streets of the poor in the vicinity of the football stadium and airport, the state government has ignored due process, including providing noticeand rehabilitation to the affected population.It has also violated national and international laws, guidelines, and standards, including the FIFA Human Rights Policy. The eviction drives in Kolkata forcefully removed about 5,000 street vendors and hawkers(including those who sell tea, food, peanuts, and cigarettes on the pavement) and 18,000 rickshaw pullers, all of whomnow have no means of livelihood. The evictions took place before the important festival of Durga Puja—a time when most informal sector workers earn more money. The loss of livelihoods greatly reduced their earnings and has adversely impacted other human rights of the affected persons and their families. Local organizations estimate the average daily loss of income per vendor/ricksaw-puller to be at least Rs 600-700, with some vendors losing much more.

The evictions also resulted in the loss of valuable documents such as voter identity cards and ration cards of affected persons as well as the destruction of personal possessions including utensils and clothes.Families forcefully evicted and displaced have been left without any recourse or access to remedy and continue to be threatened by local government officials and the police.

A local school in Salt Lake City, run by an NGO, has been shut without any prior notice or information.This has led to loss of children’s education, thereby violating their fundamental right to education.

On 22 September 2017, the National Hawkers Federation filed a Writ Petition in the Calcutta High Court to stop any further forced evictions in the city and to grant the street vendors their due right to earn a livelihood and to live with respect and dignity. On 8 October 2017, the day of the first FIFA U-17 match in Kolkata, street vendors, hawkers, affected persons, and organizations working on their behalf organized a large protest in Kolkata against the eviction drive of the state government.

News Reports

‘Massive protest held in Kolkata,’ The Hindu, 9 October 2017.Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/massive-protest-held-in-kolkata/article19825359.ece

‘Protest against evictions in Kolkata ahead of World Cup match,’ Business Standard, 8 October 2017. Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/protest-against-evictions-in-kolkata-ahead-of-world-cup-match-117100800626_1.html

‘Hawkers protest eviction drive, demandcompensation,’ The Indian Express, 8 October 2017. Available at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/hawkers-protest-eviction-drive-demand-compensation-4881113/ ‘First match in city to see protests by ‘evicted’ shanty-dwellers, hawkers,’ The Indian Express, 6 October 2017. Available at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/fifa-u-17-world-cup-first-match-in-city-to-see-protests-by-evicted-shanty-dwellers-hawkers-4876526/ ‘APDR requests FIFA to intervene over eviction issue,’ The Times of India, 4 October 2017. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/apdr-requests-fifa-to-intervene-over-eviction-issue/articleshow/60944274.cms

Football kick-off and festival farewell - Hawkers get the boot in township,’ The Telegraph, 3 October 2017. Available at:


‘Kolkata: Civic body evicts pavement encroachers in Salt Lake,’ The Times of India, 21 September 2017. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/civic-body-evicts-pavement-encroachers-in-salt-lake/articleshow/60772284.cms

Tale of two evictions: Sarobar& Metro’, The Telegraph, 12 September 2017.Available at: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170911/jsp/calcutta/story_172187.jsp#

Some Photographs From Kolkata

[1]‘SubhasSarobar eviction: HC issues notice to councilor,’ The Times of India, 12 September 2017. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/subhas-sarobar-eviction-hc-issues-notice-to-councillor/articleshow/60471493.cms

[2]‘Eviction drive in Salt Lake ahead of Under-17 World Cup,’ The Hindu, 3 October 2017. Available at http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/eviction-drive-in-salt-lake-ahead-of-under-17-world-cup/article19792117.ece

• Housing and Land Rights Violations   

Habitat International Coalition
General Secretariat