Its official now: One of the Delhi Police's most-ambitious projects — that sought to revolutionise the way the Capital's most-neglected residents viewed their relationship with the police and vice-versa — won't see the light at the end of the tunnel after all.
More than a year after it was announced, the 'Slum Panchayat Project' has been axed after a Mumbai-based NGO, which had introduced a similar project across three Mumbai slums, backed out, highly placed sources admitted.
"There were several operational hassles and problems which were getting in the way and finally made the project non-feasible," an officer claimed.
"Later, after trying our hands at different operating procedures, these turned out to be larger operational difficulties and finally prompted an NGO, which had implemented the same project in Mumbai, to back out and leave us in the lurch even after one-fourth of the work was complete," added the officer.
More than 65 per cent of Delhi's population lives in unplanned colonies, as per the Delhi Human Development Report 2006. Police believe that the proximate location of colonies of the haves and have-nots is a critical criminogenic factor.
Announced last January, the idea had been touted as the Delhi Police's most out-of-the-box initiatives aimed at understanding and building trust among the city's dispossessed living in unauthorised colonies.
As per the original plan, the police had sought to strengthen the public-police interface, instil a sense of confidence among the residents, check excesses by police officers and build an intelligence-sharing network from the bottom up.
"NGOs had also been roped in to help collect and collate data about the area's residents so that 10-member representative committees could be formed in each area," the officer said, adding that the project was at least on ‘autopilot' mode in northwest Delhi's Jahangirpuri. Apart from Jahangirpuri, these panchayats were supposed to come up at Mongolpuri, Seemapuri and Anand Parbat.