Staff Reporter

Jhuggis razed but no relief

NEW DELHI: Thanks to laxity on the part of the Delhi Development Authority, more than a hundred families of Sant Ravi Dass Camp at Vikaspuri in West Delhi whose slums were demolished in May last year are awaiting allotment of alternative plots even after nine months. The officials, however, claim that their file has been sent to the competent authority.

The DDA had demolished the slums on May 4, 2006, following which the dwellers were shifted to Bawana. "There are around 100 families which have all the relevant documents and they have also met the official. Yet they have not been given the demand letters which would facilitate allotment of plots," said K. V. Krishnan of Delhi Shramik Sangathan.

Mr. Krishnan pointed out that even the survey of the slums before demolition was carried out in one day when most of the occupants were out at work. The rulebook on removal and rehabilitation of slums makes it mandatory that a proper survey be carried out of the slums to be demolished. The slums found locked on the day of the survey should be given a three-day notice. Prior to removal, a re-survey would be done and an eligibility list displayed at the site to be demolished. The residents should be given reasonable time to settle their objections. "None of these procedures were followed. The demolition that was carried out in May was done on the basis of a survey carried out a couple of years ago. Then the officials had, however, assured that no demolition was being planned. And then suddenly they demolished the slums," said Mr Krishnan.

Several representations, meetings and assurances later, things have not moved forward for the residents who are now being forced to squat in the open at Bawana.

Even an application under the Right to Information Act to find out the status of the allotment of plots drew no response with the officials handing out yet another assurance to the dwellers.

In early January, the residents had sat in protest outside the office of the West Zone (DDA) and also gave several memoranda to the officials. But the officials turned them away with assurances. In September last year, the officials of the West Zone had maintained that the files pertaining to slum dwellers had been sent to the Engineer Departments. However, the latter claimed that it had not received any documents.