Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Karuna Mishra
Delhi's Shaheen Bagh remains etched in global memory as the epicentre of the anti-CAA-NRC protest; however, for its residents, the neighbourhood paints a contrasting picture – a deplorable scene marked by open manholes, overflowing drains, and abundance of garbage and filth in every corner.
Shaheen Bagh's main market, along the Rehan Road, also known as High Tension Road, is in severe disrepair. Several manholes along the road are left open, with dirty sewage flowing through them and spilling on the road.
I spoke to the residents, shopkeepers and commuters to understand the severity of the problem.
Mohammad Naem, a vegetable seller, had put his cart just in front of an open manhole. He said about the open drain, "The drain has been open for the last 5-6 months because of which commuters face difficulties. A few days back, a school kid fell into the drain. Then, another accident occurred where a person riding a scooter fell into the drain."
Naem's cart allows commuters to identify the drain from a fair distance and manoeuvre around the manhole.
One has to be extremely careful while using the road as there are over five manholes, either open or broken, and passersby can confuse them with potholes, which may lead to severe accidents.
Mohammad Imam tells me, "Bikers, or someone simply walking here, have to face many problems. The drains are open in several places. The situation gets worse when it rains and water logs here. Due to waterlogging, people can't identify these open drain holes. This increases the chances of accidents, and there have been many accidents here."
The open drains in Shaheen Bagh cause health risks for its residents. Shahina Praveen, another resident, shared with me the ongoing challenge she faces living amidst filth, accompanied by a persistent foul smell.
"It's unhygienic, and there is a lot of filth here. Faeces flow through these open drains. There is so much dirt here that a foul smell keeps coming, and we cannot eat anything here. "Shahina Parveen, Resident
Locals say that nobody cares about them and listens to their issues. So, I decided to speak to the Municipal Councilor, Ariba Khan, on the subject.
Speaking to me on call, Ariba told me the reason behind these open drains, "In February this year, just after winning the elections, we got the sewage chambers repaired. Heavy goods vehicles pass through the road at night and break these sewage chambers."
As per Ariba, sewage comes under the Delhi Jal Board, which the Delhi Government manages, so the work required to maintain the drain is beyond her scope.
"During Ramzan, the desilting of two sewages of Abul Fazal Enclave and Shaheen Bagh was done by us. Only the responsibility of desilting comes under MCD. We somehow managed to arrange caps for the sewage, too. It's not that we didn't try to solve the problem. We did try to get the work done."Ariba Khan, Municipal Councilor, Shaheen Bagh
Whether it is the Delhi Jal Board or the Delhi Government, the truth is that drains are open, and water is overflowing. And the residents have no option but to live around the filth.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)