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Ahead of G20 Summit, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) demolished a rain basera (night shelter) in Southeast Delhi's Sarai Kale Khan on 15 February.
I visited the Sarai Kale Khan a few days after the demolition and met the residents who've been temporarily moved out and live in a shelter near the metro station.
Two temporary tents have been made for these people that have a few beds in them, and people sleep there.
I met one of the oldest residents - Harish Hanspal of rain basera- who lived there for over 12 years.
'I was one of the oldest people living there. I have been living there for 12 years now. It was a good place to live in. There were no problems that we had to face. We don't have anywhere else to go. We don't have a village to return to. I have spent most of my life in Delhi. So if not here, where do I go now?'Harish Hanspal, Resident
"We never thought this would happen to rain basera; we just learned about it a night before that they will demolish it. They demolished it. We worked in the nearby shops and slept there. It was like our home," added Hanspal.
'Only Few Hours Notice Was Given to Us'
Residents also told me that no time was given to them to vacate or leave the place, which resulted in them not being able to relocate on time or their belongings getting buried in the demolition drive.
'We all received the notice while we were at work, and once we returned, we were informed that the next day on 15 February by 10 am, we would need to vacate our shelters. We were asked to leave by 9-9:30 am.'Anil Kumar, Resident
Kumar had been living in rain basera for over three months and worked nearby as a daily wage worker. He told me he would work during the day and then return to the shelter to sleep.
Residents Demand For Permanent Shelter Home
The residents who lost their homes due to the demolition now demand to be moved to a permanent shelter home.
Krishan, a migrant worker from Bihar who lived in the rain basera, said, "The demolition happened suddenly, and that shouldn’t be the case, many things we owned got buried in there".
'We don’t know what the government wants. They need to help us. If they take our shelters away like this, we’d be forced to sleep on the roads, and what if we meet with an accident? Who’s to be blamed, then?'Krishan, Migrant worker
Not All Have Been Moved to Temporary Shelters
After the demolition of the night shelters, not all have been moved to the temporary shelters, some are homeless and not to be found.
The people living here are not getting all the facilities they did where they lived earlier, but they don’t have any other option.
The Quint Reached Out to DUSIB
Speaking to The Quint, Bipin Rai, a member of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement board said, "The night shelters have been demolished at the request of the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) as they plan to build a park there. The people residing in those shelters have been temporarily moved to a shelter nearby at Sarai Kale Khan. More land is available, which will be used to build shelters for the people."
(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.)