Delhi

Slum dwellers demand rehabilitation from government before their eviction

Slum dwellers protesting in the city on Friday.  

Slum dwellers across the city on Friday held a National Day of Protest, demanding proper rehabilitation from the Delhi government before being evicted.

Many of them said after having settled in the jhuggis for over three decades, it would be difficult to reconstruct houses and build their lives from scratch. Deepak Tandekar, a resident of a jhuggi at Anand Vihar said: “Our parents have lived all their lives here and have worked hard to build these homes. It is impossible for them to restart their lives at this point. There is unemployment all around and despite being a graduate, I have no job.”

The 21-year-old added, “We had to struggle a lot during the lockdown to even arrange for food. My father, a carpenter, is also out of work. If the roof over our head also goes now, how will we survive? All kinds of promises are made to us only before elections.”

A proper plan

While on August 31, the Supreme Court had directed removal of 48,000 jhuggis that were present along railway tracks in the city, on Monday the Centre informed the apex court that no slum will be demolished till a proper plan is in place.

Widespread unemployment, the ongoing pandemic and concerns over children’s education were the primary reasons behind their demand to be relocated in the vicinity, slum dwellers said.

A 48-year-old, resident of a slum cluster near Mansarovar Park, Roopchand, said: “Promises like Jaahan Jhuggi Wahan Makaan and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao schemes were made to us. But here it seems like we are at a threat of losing our homes.”

The father of three daughters asked, “How are we to save our daughters and educate them if we do not have jobs ourselves or even houses?

Neelesh Kumar, a social worker said, “The residents have been living in the areas for decades and are not changing like politicians change every five years. When people have worked hard and built houses how can that be called illegal? Jhuggis are the first to be removed as they belong to the poor and weak. But now the government needs to rehabilitate us and ensure the DUSIB policy is followed.”

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:28:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/slum-dwellers-demand-rehabilitation-from-government-before-their-eviction/article32645320.ece

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