MCD elections: Affluent colonies too have sanitation and parking problems
Areas such as Greater Kailash, Shanti Niketan, Satya Niketan fall into the top category of colonies which pay maximum property tax. However, they face the same problems as the poorer neighbourhoods -- garbage, parking and poor roadsMCD Elections 2017 Updated: Mar 30, 2017 23:40 IST
In 2004, colonies in Delhi were divided into categories ‘A’ to ‘H’ which indicate their location and determine the property tax. After trifurcation, 37 colonies in ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories, which pay maximum property tax, came under the south corporation making it the richest in terms of tax collection.
Greater Kailash II, for example, is known for huge bungalows usually surrounded by trees and a corresponding wide road. This stands in contrast to the cramped houses in G or H category colonies like Dakshinpuri or Sultanpur Majra where even a simple room with a window is a luxury. According to a civic body official, houses in such posh neighbourhoods pay Rs 8,000-10,000 on an average as property tax. This appears mammoth when compared to G or H category localities where the tax comes to as low as Rs 300.
Residents feel that while they shell out huge tax, the civic amenities provided are not at par. This issue has been at the core of municipal elections too and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has announced that it will abolish residential property tax if voted in the municipal polls.
Residents in these posh areas of the Capital feel that while they are categorised as ‘high-end’ they face the same daily struggle for civic amenities as the other localities. Poor condition of roads is one of the recurring problem in these localities.
“We were earlier part of ward 189 Chirag Delhi. Now we fall under ward 087 Chittaranjan Park. It looks all nice from the outside but as you enter the inner colony roads, the weak surface is visible from the hundreds of potholes dotting it. The patched up work by the corporation every time we complain is not the best in terms of quality,” said Rakesh Singh, a resident of GK-II E block.
Same is the state of inner roads across most big colonies of South Delhi. Some stretches get shoddy repair that washes away with a few rain showers.
Suresh Goel, a resident of Vasant Vihar, says corporation workers have to be chased daily to get work done. “No door-to-door garbage collection has started here. The RWA does it. The community dhalao has to be daily monitored. Whenever the safai karamcharis don’t do the daily clearing, we have to inform them,” Goel said.
Similar is the case of Vasant Vihar. The colony, which was developed in 1960s by retired central government officers, is now one of the most expensive localities in the city. Earlier, it used to fall in ward 165, which also included Munirka, Munirka village and Munirka DDA Apartments. Now it comes under ward 64 and includes West End, Shanti Niketan, Nanakpura and Satya Niketan.
Parking is another major problem here. “Every day you can spot a new roadside dhaba or a vendor. Where do residents park their cars? Many houses build guard houses or put out potted plants on the road. School buses are parked on colony roads. The corporation needs to clear this mess with a proper parking policy and strict action,” said Rohit Raj, a resident of C Block.
Over 10km away, Defence Colony too faces similar parking mismanagement. Earlier in ward 159 Andrewsganj, Defence Colony is now part of ward 58 Kasturba Nagar.
“Illegal parking, by residents and outsiders, is an issue that we have taken up with the civic body multiple times. In B block, people from Kotla Mubarakpur come and park their vehicles. Ola and Uber drivers also use colony roads as free parking lots. There has been no concrete action on part of the corporation,” said Geeta Bhargava, a resident.
Water logging and sanitation
Annual water logging is also a recurring problem in these posh localities. Every monsoon, roads in Greater Kailash, Chittaranjan Park and South Extension, among others, get flooded.
This is due to blockage in drainage system. Drains less than 60 feet fall under the jurisdiction of civic bodies while the rest come under the Delhi government. Consequently, the issue gets lost in confusion over jurisdiction.
“This has become a regular phenomenon. We send complaints to the zonal office where officials say it is the bigger drains that are choked causing water logging. Corporation officials say de-silting of drains is taken up routinely. The PWD says the inner roads are not their problem. Who will help us then?,” said Manjit Singh, a GK I resident.
Residents say the RWAs have to pursue the municipal corporation to get any work done. “You have to chase them, pester them with calls, letters and meetings to get them to do their jobs,” said Kanika Pandit of the New Friends Colony RWA.
This upscale locality, which was earlier part of ward 206 Okhla and now falls under 101 Sarita Vihar, has been another water logging hot spot. However, after a major road and drainage relaying project two years back, things have improved. The JD Musafir Road was re-laid and the drainage system was repaired. Things were much better last monsoon, Pandit says.
However, encroachment continues and sanitation is a major problem. “While there is so much talk about using mechanical sweeping, the safai karamcharis are still using the broom. The dust as a result is mixing up with the air we breathe. There is a need for better equipment and will on the part of the civic body,” said Chitra Jain, a resident.