A tiny shack with a roof and four walls and a door that could be locked was what Mala and her family of three called home for the past 25 years. Their home was one of many in a slum cluster squeezed between the smelly Barapulla Nullah and the noisy rail tracks that lead to Nizamuddin railway station in the Capital.
This past Thursday the family had to collect what was theirs and make way for the bulldozers to raze their “home” to the ground. And a week later, in the blistering heat the family lives on the remains of that “home” with their belongings covered with old newspapers.
Mala's is only one of the 300 plus families who have been rendered homeless after the Government ordered the razing of the jhuggi jhonpri cluster on the banks of the Barapulla Nullah.
According to the Government, the cluster had to go because it came in the way of the ongoing work for the construction of the elevated corridor on Barapullah Nullah. The slum dwellers say the land is being procured for a parking bay for the Games.
“The Government has reneged on its promise. The Government in 2004 had assured us that there will be no uprooting of jhuggi jhonpris unless the land is required for hospitals, schools or roads. They had also assured that the slum dwellers will be rehabilitated before their slums were demolished. None of that has happened in this case,” alleged Amarjeet Kaur, senior leader of the Communist Party of India.
Of the 358 families that were living in the area, 36 had been informed that they will be rehabilitated elsewhere, but the slum dwellers allege that even those people have been let down. They also complain that they were not allowed to fill forms for seeking rehabilitation and relief. “MCD officials said that I was not eligible because my address had changed. What had changed for us was the polling booth,” said Mukesh. Member of Parliament P. Lingum described the demolition as “injustice against the poor” and assured them of raising their plight in Lok Sabha.
Keywords: Civic woes