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Slum total of growth story

india Updated: Aug 13, 2009 00:58 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

K Johnson (name changed) has crusaded against slums in his neighbourhood since he retired and relocated to DLF City 10 years ago.

In that time, the former MNC executive has been attacked and intimidated while his car has been through worse at the hands of the slum mafia.

To add insult to injury, the cluster of shanties near Johnson’s apartment block has grown, and now the hutments number around 600.

You’ll find the same story repeated anywhere you go in Gurgaon today.

Dharavi in the making?

Mumbai has its (now) celebrated Dharavi slum. But does Millennium City, too, need a sprawling shanty town? This question is uppermost in the minds of all concerned residents of the city.

Although there is no official data about the number of slum dwellers in Gurgaon, it is estimated that there are 4-5 lakh slum dwellers in the city.

Since slums are not part of the civic plans, the existence of so many people in slums strains the city’s infrastructure to almost breaking point.

Perhaps the most sinister influence of this unaccounted population is on the city’s law and order situation.

Police in both Gurgaon and Delhi have arrested illegal Bangladeshi migrants who were found involved in heinous crimes such as murder and robbery.

“The slum dwellers in my neighborhood have not only encroached upon 10 acres of land, including that of the Aravalli Hills, they also enjoy illegal water and power connections,” said Johnson.

“The mafia here is so fearless that it has filled a 100-year-old natural drain to build shanties on it for rent. Nobody in the neighbouring residential enclaves dare oppose this encroachment for fear of violent retaliation. In the year 2000, I was attacked, my car was damaged , and I was threatened to not interfere.”

Omnipresent ill

The slums exist nearby almost all the construction sites and villages. Setting up shanties along the construction sites is a compulsion for developers, but it is a major source of earning for the land mafia in and around the villages. Only a few developers like Lang ‘O’ Rouke have planned hutments for their construction workers and given them fenced areas with all amenities.

Villages Sikanderpur and Chakkarpur near DLF Phase I, Nathupur near DLF City-III (abutting Garden Estate on MG Road), Aardee City, Kanhai village, Wazirabad, sectors 55, 56 and 57-A are some of the locations with high slum density.

Residents have all along claimed that the slums were harbouring criminals. This was proved recently with the arrest of an inter-state gang of dreaded criminals who had targeted the house of a retired deputy inspector general of Railway Protection Force (RPF) in DLF City on August 17 last year.

While admitting that slums were a major cause of the rise in crime rate, the ACP (East) Sumit Kuhar said that drives had been launched to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants but the process to deport them was very tedious.

“Many have acquired fake IDs and claim that they are locals,” Kuhar said.