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Vimla Devi, who lives in a two-storey house in Ladpur village — about 16 kilometres northwest of Rohini, hasn’t been able to get her younger son married. Families of prospective brides come with an offer only to never return.
Few winding lanes away, Rita Balraj has to allow her three daughters-in-laws to live in the house only in shifts. When one gets to stay inside, the other two have to go live with their parents. Her neighbour, Ghanshyam Singh (name changed), has a bigger challenge at hand. Two of his four daughters-in-laws have refused to return and the villagers blame the government for their plight.
Marriages in this Jat-dominated village are either not happening or are breaking fast as there is no space left for the brides. Though the villagers own several bighas of land that can be used for making new houses, government is yet to change the land use from agricultural to residential through consolidation of land or by extending the lal dora. The last time the land used was changed in this village was in 1908.
“This is precisely why about 100-150 men in this village aged around 30 are still single. Parents just don’t agree to let their daughters live in this hellhole,” added village elder Jai Bhagwan. If the government agrees to extend the lal dora limits in this village, houses built on nearly 164 bighas land will become authorized. Villagers have also been demanding chakbandi or consolidation of land so that all their agricultural land can be amalgamated and redistributed to them for expansion. The village had, in fact, boycotted municipal polls in 2012 with women shouting slogans - Chakbandi nahi to Nasbandi kar do. “It’s our own land. Even the gram sabha land is made of our personal land kept aside for common use in the village. The process for consolidation has already started for so many other villages. But here, demolition notices come twice a year. Villagers then stuff themselves in buses and go to meet ministers,” said Dabas.
“We will vote this time. But only to oust Congress,” he added. Sitting MP Krishna Tirath said she was aware of the problem and assured she would take up the matter with Delhi government if voted to power again. Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had announced last year that lal dora would be extended in 360 villages. “The process has started. The urban development department has already invited applications for extension of lal dora,” said Dharam Pal, Principal Secretary, Revenue.