Hundreds of unauthorised colonies across the city have remained at the core of Delhi politics. But, despite all political parties promising to provide basic civic amenities ahead of every election, for the lakhs of residents dwelling in these colonies the issues remain unchanged.
Even as the residents headed to polling booths to choose their municipal councillors on Sunday, they listed basic amenities such as sanitation, water supply, sewerage, dangling electric wires and dust pollution as some of the issues which they battle on a daily basis.
Expressing ‘hopelessness’ over chances of improvement in these colonies, Uday Pratap Singh, a resident of C-block Sangam Vihar, said: “Narendra Modi or Arvind Kejriwal will not come to clean our drains, which is always overflowing. Earlier we had voted for a new party, but nothing happened. Also in five years time, we never saw our councillor. So this time, we don’t want to make the same mistake.”
Sangam Vihar is one of the biggest unauthorised colonies, which also had the distinction of being one of the most parched areas of the city, with residents forced to be dependent on water tankers for supply. The AAP government claims to have brought 70% of the colony area under the piped water network.
Complaints of lack of water and sanitation also emerged in Burari assembly segment in North Delhi, dotted with unauthorised colonies, dominated by migrants from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh — commonly known as purvanchalis.
The significance of the area could be gauged from that fact that both Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar launched the campaign for municipal elections from the area.
“Water comes once in two days and that too just for an hour. Population of the area has increased like anything and but there is no infrastructure to back it up. We hope the problem will be resolved,” said Jamaluddin, a resident of the area for the past 40 years.
Issues of barbed wires hanging dangerously figured among the top priorities of the people living in unauthorised colonies such as New Ashok Nagar and Karawal Nagar.
“The wires here are hanging dangerously. In case of a storm it can lead to major accidents. I prefer voting for NOTA as no political party has cared to solve the issue in past 30 years,” said Bhim Kaushik, a resident of Karawal Nagar.
A section of voters in Chander Vihar in east Delhi said they feel ashamed about where they stay.
“We feel ashamed to take the name of our colony because of the unhygienic condition we live in. There are open drains across the locality,” said Surbhi Gupta, a resident.
(With inputs from Faizan Haidar)