Two years after the Aam Adami Party government came to power, its promise of ‘Jahan Jhuggi, Wahan Makaan’ has failed to gain momentum.
What has kept the slum dwellers away from their dream home is bureaucratic hurdles. Approved by the Delhi cabinet in July 2016, the rehabilitation policy was sent back by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal early this month with some observations.
The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has now responded to L-G’s comment and as the files run to and fro a final notification of the policy is yet to come.
Despite delay in the rehabilitation policy, the government has opened over 10,000 toilets in slums. The DUSIB has constructed 5,000 toilet seats so far and government wants to add 10,000 more seats before March.
“Apart from constructing new toilets, we have focused on repair and upgradation of existing ones. We have installed taps in 80% of the toilets and regular cleaning is done,” said a DUSIB official.
DUSIB has plans to construct 2 lakh public toilets across Delhi of which 1.5 lakh will be in slum clusters.
Meanwhile, with January 1, 2015 as the cut-off date for the policy, the clusters that came up after this date face threat of demolition.
Some experts also feel that slum rehabilitation requires a multi-dimensional approach that includes providing proper care. “Relocation of can be a dangerous policy. They lose everything. The best way to deal with this is to leave the slum as it is and provide the basic facilities to them,” said Dunu Roy, director, Hazards Centre.
A Delhi government spokesperson, however, said the policy takes care to rehabilitate slum dwellers close to their homes. “The thrust of the policy is in-situ rehabilitation, using land as a resource and resorting to relocation
only as an exception. Attempt will be made to rehabilitate the eligible Jhuggi Jhopri dwellers at the same location or a within a radius of 5 km,” the spokesperson said.
It was decided that DUSIB will rehabilitate the eligible JJ dwellers before removal of jhuggies as per this policy. The DUSIB had identified four slum clusters where a pilot project was to be started but this, too, got stuck in bureaucracy.
About 2,000 families living in north Delhi’s Sangam Park were to be the first to be rehabilitated under Delhi government’s slum-free plan.
The DUSIB has submitted the plan to the municipal corporation for the approval but is yet to receive a response.