Lok Sabha elections 2019: Better jobs, facilities on wish list of Nathupur residents
On a typical day in the slums of Nathupur, a village that borders Cyber City and DLF Phase 3, men can be seen sifting through the garbage that arrives in trucks. They segregate pieces of scrap to sell in the market. Most women work as domestic workers in nearby localities, while few others have makeshift paan stalls or work as construction workers.
Nathupur is home to thousands of migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan and other states, who have been living in the 2,500-odd slums for more than 10 years. However, most of them said they don’t have voter IDs, and haven’t voted before.
“No politician has ever entered the slums of Nathupur,” said Sarafat, who moved from Uttar Pradesh to Gurugram 14 years ago. He said that no voter registration camp has been conducted either. “We don’t have any address proof, as we are living in makeshift slums,” Sarafat added.
According to Leelu Ram, sarpanch of Nathupur, the village has about 15,000 registered voters and a population of around 1.5 lakh. “The registered voters are mostly landowners, who have let out their lands to migrant workers,” he said, adding he isn’t aware how many migrant workers are registered to vote here.
“These slums are owned by landowners of Nathupur and the rent is getting higher every year. A decent job could help us,” said Ganesh who works as a scrap seller and had moved to the city from West Bengal 10 years ago. Residents said they earn about ₹200 a day by dealing in scrap and want permanent jobs.
A few of the resident, who moved to the city recently, are registered as electors at their native places. However, they said they can’t afford the journey back home to vote. “I visit my village in West Bengal once a year, when I have saved up enough. How can I afford the travel back home just to vote?” said Ram Vilas, 52, who moved to Nathupur two years ago.
Sant Lal, district election tehsilar, said voter registration camps have been held in the past in Nathupur. “However, I can’t confirm if they have been held in the slums. Valid address proof is necessary to get registered,” he said.
Locals said the area is also a hotbed for diseases due to the garbage dumped here. “People fall sick during monsoon every year. It becomes a ground for dengue and malaria,” said Ganesh.
Locals said their children have to cross the dump every day to go to school, which is a health concern.