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'Hutments Cleared in Noida, Dwellers Left Without Ration, Belongings for a Week'

Shelter was provided to the dwellers by certain private individuals a week later.

Published
My Report
4 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p><em>Jhuggis</em> near the service lane running adjacent to the road leading from NTPC to Sector 18 Noida were destroyed by the police and the Noida Authority.</p></div>
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Ten days since jhuggis near the service lane running adjacent to the road leading from NTPC to Sector 18 of Noida (Maharaja Agrasen Marg) were destroyed by the police and the Noida Authority in the middle of the rainy season, those who have lost their homes have nowhere to go. The sight of the small slum dwelling near the ISCON Temple of Noida is in stark contrast to what can be termed development, and even further away from the pledge of “Green Noida, Clean Noida”.

On 26 July, Noida Authority and police officials, along with JCBs, trucks, and dumpers, reached these roadside hutment dwellings unannounced, and forcefully emptied the area taking away all the belongings of those living illegally on these pavements.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Location of the jhuggis before clearance on 26 July.</p></div>

Location of the jhuggis before clearance on 26 July.

(Photo Courtesy: Shubhika Saluja)

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The slum dwelling has hardly 50 people who engage in casual work and live hand-to-mouth with some help from certain social workers and NGOs who provide them with ration from time to time.

A social worker, Rupa Sharma, tells me:

"During my visits to clusters like these, I have noticed that many get demolished by the NOIDA Authority. While some do get prior notice, they do not have an alternative place to go and are unable to move. Ultimately, their huts get demolished."
Rupa Sharma, Social Worker

Near these dwellings is a tunnel, which is filled with garbage and there is long grass growing around it making the area extremely uninhabitable. Behind this setup is a low-lying area where a few other hutments can be found where about six to seven other families reside and they can’t be seen from the main road. This area is prone to waterlogging and yet another health hazard for these dwellers.

  • 01/04

    Left over belongings scattered near the site.

    (Photo Courtesy: Shubhika Saluja)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>Left over belongings scattered near the site.</p></div>
  • 02/04

    Behind their hutments is mess and litter.

    (Photo Courtesy: Shubhika Saluja)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>Behind their hutments is mess and litter.</p></div>
  • 03/04

    Three hutments towards the lower side of the ground were not demolished.

    (Photo Courtesy: Shubhika Saluja)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>Three hutments towards the lower side of the ground were not  demolished.</p></div>
  • 04/04

    An open nullah behind where the jhuggis stood.

    (Photo Courtesy: Shubhika Saluja)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>An open nullah behind where the jhuggis stood.</p></div>

Left Without Shelter for a Week

During the day, most of the dwellers who live in these so called ‘illegal hutments and slums’ are off to work, either at nearby construction sites as labourers or as domestic workers, and some as beggars who can be found at nearby traffic signals. Only the children and elderly can be found at the hutments during the day.

When the Noida Authority showed up, only children (who have no means of education except an NGO helping them online) and some elderly dwellers were around, who were helpless and at the mercy of the Noida Authority officials.

"I asked for ten minutes to seek help and remove tents and belongings from the pavement. We were told to ask the Junior Engineer, who scolded us and then told those with him to take away our belongings, including the ration, utensils, clothes, and children’s books."
A slum dweller

The authority also seized the items that were on display and being sold by some of these dwellers on the roadside. The officials, without considering that these dwellers would be left with no ration and shelter during the rainy season, demolished the hutments.

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For the next week or so, these dwellers had no shelter. As it was raining heavily, the only option available to them was to reside alongside other dwellers who were living in the low-lying areas at the back, as those slums were not demolished by the authorities.

"I heard of similar clearance of roadside potters' homes in Sector 55 almost a month ago. Things were scattered and they had no place to live. Similarly, almost 10 months ago, a huge cluster of people was removed in Sector 48. They had nothing left. In both cases, I am unaware if notice was given."
Rupa Sharma, Social Worker

When I tried to speak to the Senior Manager, Circle 2 of NOIDA Authority, he said that there was no notice given in cases like these as hutments crop up in the same spots after some time, again.

Invisibility And Its Cost 

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Water gets clogged under their tents, making it uninhabitable.</p></div>

Water gets clogged under their tents, making it uninhabitable.

(Photo Courtesy: Shubhika Saluja)

It is also pertinent to mention that some provision of shelter was done for these dwellers by certain private individuals/citizens of Noida and now they have a place to stay. They have themselves now made their shelters in the backend area near a small pool of dirty water, where they can avoid run-ins with the police and other officials. However, the downside to this invisibility is that it impacts their ability to accept donations when food or cloth distribution drives are conducted by certain individuals and community volunteer groups.

According to these dwellers, the police is not a hindrance to their stay and in fact, extends a helping hand from time to time if needed.

However, such stringent action is taken only on the instructions of the authority officials.

(Multiple calls to Rahul Sharma, Senior Manager of Circle 2 under Noida Authority, went unanswered.)

(The author is a lawyer. 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.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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