Encroachers eat up green area in Karol Bagh

The choked sewer of Christian Colony in Karol Bagh in New Delhi. Photo: Anu Pushkarna  

NEW DELHI, OCT. 7. Residents of the small Christian Colony in the Capital's congested Karol Bagh area are up in arms against the civic authorities and elected representatives these days. They are agitated over encroachments on two small parks in their colony that have deprived them of any green space in the area.

While a major portion of one of the parks has been illegally converted into a gymnasium with the rest being occupied by a non-functional musical fountain, a "concrete structure" with posters of gods and goddesses has come up in the other one.

"Both parks of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi are kept locked most of the time by their illegal occupants who do not even allow the residents to enter," alleged Stanley D'Souza, vice-chairman of the Christian Colony Residents' Welfare Association, today. "They have political patronage," he charged.

A senior citizen, Meenakshi Rajendran, alleged that the park would soon be converted into a religious structure. Pointing towards a massive pandal being erected in the park by labourers, she said: "Living here becomes difficult during Durga Puja celebrations. Hundreds of people visit this park during Durga Puja and loudspeakers are on till late in the night.''

Showing letters written to the local police and the MCD officials in this regard, Ms. Rajendran said: "I am sure nothing is going to happen. After all we are peace-loving people. And more importantly, we do not matter much when it comes to vote bank politics."

Describing Christian Colony as probably the only area in Karol Bagh which was least commercialised, the RWA president, Virender Jain, said: "Some of us have still retained the old structure."

Alleging that the park was being illegally used for religious purposes, Mr. Jain charged the Bharatiya Janata Party and the former Member of Parliament from the area, Anita Arya, with giving money from her fund to construct the concrete structure in the park for religious purposes. "When we approached her, she refused to listen to us. Her successor, Krishna Tirath, was no better. She also refused to intervene," he said.

"This is not all," Mr. Jain added. "The residents have been facing acute problems of waterlogging, blockage of sewers, non-functional streetlights and poor quality of water supply. The MCD and the traffic police have permitted parking of vehicles of the neighbourhood markets in front of our colony," he said.

Mr. D'Souza said despite repeated letters and reminders to Delhi Jal Board, there had been no effort on its part to solve their sewerage problem. "The sewage overflows after the rain and the lanes in our colony get submerged in knee-deep water which enter our homes at time," he rued.