Delhi slum eviction: COVID pandemic took away every little thing, now roof being taken away, say residents

New Delhi, September 12

The COVID-19 pandemic took away her household’s livelihood and now 48-year-old Veeramma fears she is going to lose her roof within the wake of the Supreme Court ordering the elimination of 48,000 slum dwellings alongside railway tracks in Delhi.

“My husband was born here. My son was born here. My in-laws breathed their last in this house. This is all we have,” stated Veeramma as she sat on crushed stones exterior her house at a slum cluster alongside a railway observe close to Jal Vihar in Lajpat Nagar.

The 48-year-old, who works as a home assist, stated her employers haven’t referred to as her again to work but.

“My husband cannot move. My son is a daily wager, he doesn’t have much work, too. We don’t have enough ration to feed the family for another week,” stated Veeramma her two-year-old granddaughter, a 3rd era to be born within the slum cluster.

“We don’t have the money for my granddaughter’s milk. Even if we beg, we won’t get anything. The times were never so bad,” she stated.

The Supreme Court had on August 31 ordered the elimination of 48,000 slum dwellings alongside railway tracks in Delhi inside three months. As per tough estimates, there are round 2,40,000 individuals dwelling in slums in Naraina Vihar, Azadpur, Vihar, Shakur Basti, Mayapuri, Sriniwaspuri, Anand Parbat and Okhla amongst others.

The Northern Railways had submitted a report back to the apex court docket which stated that mushrooming of slums alongside railway tracks is performing as hindrance in direction of holding them clear.

Panchavarna, 55, stated her household had moved to Delhi from Chennai.

“We know the land belongs to the government, but where will we go? Who will take our responsibility,” she requested.

Elumalai, 35, reminded the federal government’s promise of “jahan jhuggi wahin makan” made earlier than the elections.

“We do not say we won’t accept the court’s order. This land belongs to the railways and they will take it one day, but where will we go? No one cares for us,” Elumalai, whose father got here to Delhi from Chennai in 1978, stated.

Interestingly, every family within the slum has received electrical energy connection, Aadhaar card, voter ID, and ration card.   

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) authorities had constructed group bogs for the slum dwellers final 12 months, in order that nobody defecates within the open or on the tracks, stated 45-year-old Shankar Sarangam, a driver who didn’t get a wage for 3 months through the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

“The salary has been reduced by half. I have a family to feed. We were thankful to god that we have a roof over our head,” he stated.

“Now the jhuggi will be gone, too. The railways should have at least considered the timing of the move. The impact of the pandemic will linger on for another three years,” Sarangam stated.

In one other slum alongside the railway tracks in Sriniwaspuri, Ramnadhar Mandal, 40, asks, “Why do politicians ask for votes if they cannot rehabilitate us?”

“Where do we go – to the footpath?” Mandal, who hails from Bihar’s Katihar district, has two child women who’re studying to stroll.

“Think of these children. We will have to spend nights in the open, in rains and winters,” he stated, clasping his fingers collectively, as if making a request to the federal government.  

Gunodhar Mandal, 60, who got here to Delhi from West Bengal’s Malda district 25 years in the past isn’t very hopeful of a “proper rehabilitation”.

“I am afraid we will be asked to leave the city and go back to the village. We have nothing left there,” he stated.

AAP, BJP assault one another

The matter has taken a political tone with the Aam Aadmi Party concentrating on the Bharatiya Janata Party for eviction notices being issued by the railways.

AAP spokesperson and MLA Raghav Chadha on Friday tore eviction notices despatched to the residents and stated nobody may raze their shanties “till Kejriwal is alive”.

The Delhi BJP has alleged that regardless of being in energy for over 5 years, the AAP has accomplished little to rehabilitate individuals dwelling in slums within the metropolis.

The Arvind Kejriwal authorities says the railways can’t demolish the slum clusters alongside the practice tracks with out offering various lodging to its inhabitants in accordance with the provisions of Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015.

On its half, Railways stated it was working in keeping with the orders of the Supreme Court, however refused to elaborate additional on the difficulty.

In a letter to the railways on Thursday, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), headed by Chief Minister Kejriwal, stated that based on the 2015 coverage, the rehabilitation work needs to be undertaken by the company which owns the encroached land.

However, DUSIB additionally stated it could possibly undertake rehabilitation work however the railways should pay for the price of land and development in addition to relocation prices starting from Rs 7.55 Lakh to Rs 11.30 Lakh per flat.

The company additionally supplied a listing of over 29,000 accomplished housing items and one other 16,600 below development ones accessible with the Delhi authorities.

These homes had been constructed in numerous components of the town, together with Narela, Bawana, Baprola, Sultanpuri and different locations, below Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) between 2007 and 2019.

The DUSIB has stated the 29,257 accomplished flats can be prepared to maneuver in by March-April 2021, whereas the below development 16,600 flats at Tikri and Pooth Khurd can be prepared by December 2021. — PTI

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