Ghaziabad: Residents long for basic facilities as Khoda goes for first local body polls
Situated on the border of Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi, Khoda is home to more than one million people, one of Asia’s largest migrant colonies.noida Updated: Nov 13, 2017 15:36 IST
A huge, rusted gate erected in the memory of India’s former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh welcomes one to the dusty and dilapidated lanes of Khoda, one of Asia’s largest migrant colonies.
Situated on the border of Noida and Ghaziabad, Khoda is home to more than one million people, according to unofficial figures. The colony was set up in 1982 and has been home to lakhs of migrants who have moved to Delhi-NCR from their hometowns in search of a livelihood.
On November 26, this region will go to polls with 1.62 lakh registered voters exercising their right to choose the chairman of the municipal body. The chairperson’s post of Khoda is reserved for a woman candidate.
Khoda was referred to as a colony till 2016, when the gram panchayat system was abolished for the residential society and a municipality was constituted.
Over the last three decades, Khoda has seen multiple changes in governance, civic bodies and by-laws. However, residents of Khoda said that their conditions have not improved, as they are unable to avail of even basic facilities such as running water and sewage system.
“There has been only one longstanding demand of Khoda people for decades — supply and drainage of water. We want clean water supply and we want dirty water from our lanes to flow out,” said Ram Prakash Singh, 54, a resident of Azad Vihar in Khoda.
“Every household spends at least ₹3,000-₹4,000 every month to buy water from private tankers. The ones who have boring facilities in their houses get water but even that is saline and hard,” said 48-year-old Ashok Kumar, a resident of Prakash Nagar in Khoda.
Residents said that they have, somewhat, come to terms with supply shortage and are making ends meet but the lack of a sewage system has made their lives miserable. They said the lack of a sewage system has turned the area into a slum.
Lanes in Khoda are always overflowing with dirty water as the drains are choked with excess plastic and garbage. Residents say they hardly see any municipal worker on the streets of Khoda.
“The drain that passes in front of my house gets choked every day and we have to clean it to keep our lanes free of dirty water. At times, the stench is so strong that we prefer to stay indoors,” said Birju Kumar of Azad Nagar in Khoda.
Sangeet Kumari, an attendant at a Noida-based hospital who stays in Khoda, said the problem worsens in the monsoon. “We have so many patients of dengue and malaria along with cholera as water stagnates in our locality. I have not seen any health camp in Khoda,” said Kumari.
Lack of a proper garbage disposal system is also a major problem, residents said.
“Be it the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha polls or Nagar Palika polls, Khoda is always politically charged. However, after the election, things revert to as they were and there is no change. The empty plots serve as a dumping ground for the residents,” said 77-year-old Dhuri Singh, a resident of Prakash Nagar in Khoda.
As one exits Khoda from the same rusted gate, adjacent to it is an old dilapidated building that once served as the office for Khoda Express, a local newspaper. The newspaper has now shut, resonating the situation in Khoda, as residents have stopped seeking accountability from their leaders.