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Delhi's resettlement colony demands better governance

Sep 01, 2009

A public hearing organised by Jagori at a resettlement colony in India’s national capital last week revealed the failure of local agencies in ensuring clean and safe environment. The meeting concluded with the decision to send a delegation of youths and women to meet authorities for claiming their rights.

New Delhi: With approximately 10,000 households, residents of Madanpur Khadar in southeast Delhi are struggling with basic survival issues and devoid of the most basic amenities.

Frequent power cuts, inadequate water supply, heaps of garbage strewn around on streets, unsafe roads and inadequate street lighting, poor and ill-equipped schools and the insecurity amongst girls and womenfolk were some of the main concerns that were expressed during the hearing.

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To find answers to all their problems, community people came out in large numbers to attend the public hearing or Jan Sunwai organised by Jagori, an NGO working for women’s rights.

Jagori coordinators had invited government officials from Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Police, Health and Education departments.

But only two officials from MCD for slum administration showed up. After their arrival community people expressed their grief over the growing negligence of local bodies.

A living hell

Geeta, a young student and resident of Phase III said: “The most important problem of the colony is cleanliness and sanitation. Schools are small and do not have capacity to accommodate any more students. Roofs leak and there is a total lack of other facilities.”

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Gauri Devi, disillusioned by the growing ignorance of people, highlighted the problem of piling garbage in the area. “It is leading to the spread of diseases like malaria and dengue.”

Lalita pointed out the issue of insecurity of girls. “For past six months, I have been facing molestation and hearing foul language from boys, who gather like bees in the streets. Poor street lighting, absence of police patrolling vans and failure to ensure safety for girls have created loads of problems for us.”

Putting forth the demand for 24x7 police patrolling, adequate street lighting and safety of schools, she said that this would make life much easier and safer for the girls and women of the colony.

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Discussing the civic problems, boys came forward to highlight the conditions of parks and schools in the colony.

They raised the issue of encroachment of public parks, waste dumping, etc. They also stressed on the need for clean and green parks for playing and undertaking community activities.

Young members from Jagori, who have been working for 6-8 months in spreading awareness and training girls and boys on development issues, mentioned of facing enormous challenges in the area.

Assurance for good governance

Vijay Pal Singh from MCD’s slum administration department said: “It’s good that young people are becoming aware of their rights.”

He stressed on the need for better education for holistic growth. He counselled parents to send their children to school and assured that he would do his best to restore the playgrounds and ensure safe drinking water.

Rana Jain, another MCD official promised of taking the message to the Commissioner. He advised them to form a delegation of people and meet higher authorities with their demands.

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Jagori Director Sunita Dhar and Mahila Mandal President Bano extended their full support to the residents.

Dhar said: “We would explore more opportunities in Public Private Partnership, which can help in addressing people’s problems.”

The event ended with a small street play performed by boys on the plight of school education. Girls also expressed their heartfelt wishes through a song of courage and promised to continue their struggles to ensure a better environment.

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