Poor cousin of the East | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Poor cousin of the East

Games projects stopped short of reaching North-east Delhi constituency where slums, villages and congested roads are sprinkled with little development Sidhartha Roy reports. See Graphics

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2009 00:46 IST
Sidhartha Roy

The Grand Trunk (GT) Road almost neatly divides the two parliamentary constituencies. East Delhi, with its Commonwealth Games largesse, and Northeast Delhi that was carved out of the former in the delimitation exercise. The busy road divides them in more ways than one.

The Games village brought with it some major infrastructure projects, but it stopped short of spreading the same cheer on the other side of GT Road in Northeast Delhi constituency. “The Games has come to East Delhi but it will only benefit those who live in the already better off parts like Indra Prastha Extension and Preet Vihar,” said Jamaluddin, a resident of New Seelampur.

About 10 new flyovers will come up in East Delhi before the Games, but the residents of these areas will have to weave through heavy traffic for some more time. “There is not even a subway or a foot-over-bridge on the road and no one seems to care,” he said.

The one good thing that has happened to this area is the extension of the Metro line up to Dilshad Garden in 2008.
Areas like Seemapuri, Karawal Nagar, Burari, Mukandpur and Timarpur, form an arc of squalor and non-development in the constituency with small pockets of middle class and posh areas like Dilshad Garden, Timarpur and Delhi University.

Dilshad Garden, for instance, seems like an island of tranquility sandwiched between the filth and commotion of Taharpur and Seemapuri.

Northwards, it brims with the migrant population. The unending rows of shanties and open drains disappear shortly only to emerge again as one leaves Muslim dominated areas like Seelampur, Babarpur and Seemapuri and enters Nand Nagri, Gokalpur and Karawal Nagar, populated by Poorvanchali voters.

“Movements of politicians are restricted to Vikas Marg,” said Prem Kumar, standing near the Bhajanpura Chowk as cars, two wheelers, tractors, pedestrians, cycle rickshaws and buffaloes jostled for space on the road behind him.

Then there are villages like Jagatpur, Sant Nagar and Mukandpur along Outer Ring Road that are conveniently forgotten by parliamentarians after elections. “All of us here vote religiously but get to see our MP only once in five years,” said Mukesh, who lives in Mukandpur village.

Money is not really a problem here. Cars like Hyundai Accent and Skoda Octavia share the dirt roads with buffalo carts here.

The other side Area comprising Timarpur, Delhi University and Malka Ganj stands out amidst all this. Even on the map, the area juts out reluctantly from the rest of the constituency.

With evenly spread out government flats and small parks, the issues and aspirations of Timarpur are not in consonance with the rest of the constituency. The Sixth Pay Commission can swing votes here, not unemployment or bad roads.

“Areas like Delhi University should not be part of Northeast Delhi constituency. As it is there are not too many voters here as most students either come from outside Delhi or reside in other parts of the city,” said Brajesh Singh, a DU student. “With its large votebanks, politicians would only pamper people in eastern part of the constituency,” he said.