Families homeless after rain floods over 25 hutments
Several tenements on the floodplains of the Yamuna near east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar have been inundated in incessant rain over the past two days, rendering over 25 families homeless. Locals alleged that mounds of soil and concrete waste, dumped on the floodplains this February, exacerbated the flooding.
Environment activists had raised the alarm about the dumping of soil in the area in February itself. Activists had alleged that the central public works department (CPWD), undertaking the construction of the new Parliament building using private developers, had been allowing the dumping of construction waste — including debris and soil from the site on the floodplains — in violation of an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
CPWD officials had, however, denied the allegations back in February. When Hindustan Times reached out to CPWD on Friday, officials refused to respond.
“Nearly 25 houses got flooded over the past two days. The situation has been aggravated by the mounds of mud and waste dumped there. A lake of sorts has formed amid the mounds and the hutments are right in the middle of the lake,” said Dev Pal, a local resident and field researcher for citizens’ group, Housing and Land Rights Network, which had filed a petition against the dumping in the area in February. While dumping has been put on hold since February, their fears of flooding have come true, said residents.
“We had feared that houses will be inundated in the event of heavy rain. Our fears have come true,” said Pal, who added that people living in the area were worried about their houses getting buried under the sand mounds and were seeking rehabilitation. “Nearly 70 families are affected by all this and nearly 25 of them have been rendered homeless by the flooding. If no steps are taken, the crisis will be much worse during the coming monsoon,” said Pal.
The 25 families are now living on the road till the flood water recedes. “Water has accumulated in our homes and about 60-70 people are affected. There has been no respite from the rain since Tuesday. We are struggling to get in and out of our homes,” said Meena, who goes by her first name, and has been living in the area for the past 26 years.
She said residents like her only want to be rehabilitated to a safe and secure place by the authorities. “During the day, we move to the main road with charpoys and live there. The nights are more difficult. The soil mounds and water have mixed and there is slush all around us,” said Meena.
Delhi Development Authority did not comment on the flooding issue nor on the residents’ demand for rehabilitation.