Rajendra Nagar is one of the most strategically located residential colonies of the Capital -- just a five-minute drive from the office complexes of central Delhi and next to the Ridge, the lung of the Capital. The proximity to some good schools, private and government hospitals as well as the construction of Delhi Metro has turned it into one of the most sought after residential areas.
But despite residing in a sought-after area, the original inhabitants of Rajendra Nagar are an unhappy lot. As new floors were added to the original double-storeyed structures built for refugees from Pakistan after Partition, the pressure on basic amenities increased manifold.
The residents allege the government has done little to address the issues.
“Builders have completely taken over the area. More than 80% houses have been converted into builder flats. Water and sewer lines were laid for a limited number of people but the population has gone up, leading to choked sewers and dry taps. Traffic congestion on colony roads and fights over parking are routine,” said Rajeev Arora, a resident of New Rajendra Nagar.
Though water pipelines and sewer lines in some parts have been replaced with bigger ones, it hasn’t helped much.
Not just Rajendra Nagar, water scarcity and government indifference is a big issue at other colonies in the Rajendra Nagar assembly constituency, which include Karol Bagh, Inderpuri, Naraina Vihar and the villages of Dasghara, Todapur and Naraina.
The constituency has a number of slum clusters, including few in and around Naraina Industrial Area, which residents said receive “excess water”.
“Three clusters have been given illegal water connections. While we are parched, they get water to play with. The water we get stinks,” said Jaswant Singh, a Naraina Vihar resident.
Residents said they had approached the area MLA, who had been the vice-chairman of Delhi Jal Board, but had always received a cold response. “We want a government and a representative who stand with us in the times of need,” said Sandeep Maini, a resident of Naraina Vihar.
While scarcity of water and lack of other amenities affect the residents of villages, one of their biggest concerns is safety of women. “I’ll vote for a party and the candidate who promises me a safe city,” said 17-year-old school student Tarunima.