Carrying a bottle of blackish liquid — supposed to be drinking water —Pradip Kumar walked into the Central Park of Trilokpuri block 31 to see if his problem is redressed.
Hundred-odd persons — men, whindustan times, newsomen, urchins from the block and some government employees — are present for the Mohalla Sabha, on a sultry Saturday afternoon.
The concept of Swaraj — the Lok Raj Andolan — is relatively new. The Mohalla Sabha is a meeting of all residents from a locality, along with the elected representatives and the civic personnel.
The concept is: Let people of the area decide what they want for the area and also empower them to punish the guilty.
“We have been getting water like this for the last two months. We have lodged complaints but nothing has happened,” Kumar (30) said, as he showed the bottle to H S Kashyap, the Municipal Councillor from the area, police men and municipal employees present at the meeting.
Kashyap said, “Ask me for all kinds of municipal works but not water. You have to ask Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for water problems. But there are no DJB officials present.”
People immediately point out it is not just the DJB officials who are missing but also the Station House Officer (SHO) of the area is missing.
Water and sanitation are two of the important issues on the agenda.
People point out how the area, specially the park, remains dirty most of the time and how no safai karmchari reports for duty properly.
Immediately, Sheila (she goes with a single name) informed, “We do not have brooms and bins. Our salaries are often late. Why do you always blame us without looking at our problems?”
“It is such a shame, the government is spending Rs 30,000 crore on Commonwealth Games but it has no money to pay for brooms,” observed Swati Maliwal, one of the propagators of Swaraj, the Lok Raj Andolan.
The meeting concluded with a decision that applications would be filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to know about the DJB work.
People, although skeptical, said they would attend the next meeting.
Maliwal explained, “Each ward is divided into 10 mohallas and all residents are members of the mohalla sabha. It takes place once in two months and the councillor and all local civic officials are present for the meetings.”
The campaign has met with fair success in other areas of east Delhi like Sundar Nagari and parts of Mayur Vihar.