Delhi: 26,288 Flats Built for Slum-Dwellers Are Still Lying Empty
26,288 1BHK and 2BHK flats constructed for the poor are still unoccupied in the city.(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
26,288 1BHK and 2BHK flats constructed for the poor are still unoccupied in the city.(Photo: The Quint)

Delhi: 26,288 Flats Built for Slum-Dwellers Are Still Lying Empty

It can be definitely said that successive Delhi governments have failed miserably with relocating the city’s slum-dwellers.

Statistics indicate (refer to snapshot box below) that a considerable number of flats have been constructed for these disenfranchised groups. But the lion’s share of these constructions are still lying unoccupied and unattended.

If the rehabilitation of the national capital’s slum-dwellers has become such a tedious process, the future of pro-poor policies looks extremely bleak.

Snapshotclose

  • In 2010, Delhi government with the Centre’s help built 27,344 flats for people living in slums.
  • Currently, 26,288 flats are yet to be occupied.
  • Flats have been constructed in Bawana, Baprola, Ghoga and Dwarka.
  • Only 4,000 ex-slum dwellers have been shifted so far.
  • The Quint managed to document 16,000 of these unoccupied shelters.
Children playing in shanty near Gole Market. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Children playing in shanty near Gole Market. (Photo: The Quint)

Who Were These Flats Made For?

In 2007, the Sheila Dikshit-led government decided to construct flats for slum-dwellers. This proposal found support in some of the central government schemes like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and the Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY).

By 2010, flats were constructed in areas like Bawana, Baprola, Dwarka and Ghoga. The flats were complete with parks, playgrounds and even marriage halls.

Despite these developments, 27,344 flats could not be allotted.
The erstwhile UPA government did not facilitate systematic distribution, and while some flats were allotted, people were never shifted into them. 

One government followed the other, but the mission never witnessed successful implementation.

Why Are the Flats Lying Empty?

Lack of government initiative has drastically impeded the plan’s implementing in Delhi. There is also the added lack of a structured allotment plan.

In 2009, under the UPA II rule, the Lieutenant General had rejected the Delhi government’s proposal. After 2009, the government kept waiting for these flats to get ready and in 2013, the UPA government itself was thrown out of power.

Sheila Departs, Kejriwal Arrives

Arvind Kejriwal and Sheila Dikshit with Lieutenant General, Najeeb Jung. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Arvind Kejriwal and Sheila Dikshit with Lieutenant General, Najeeb Jung. (Photo: The Quint)

Even with the change in government, nothing changed with the allotment process.

It’s been two years and a blame game has begun.

The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has alleged that the right to allotment was only accorded to them in 2015.

It was only last year in a board meeting that the decision to let the DUSIB allot flats was taken. We have started the process to do the same. We have already identified some clusters and are in the process of surveying to locate others.
Bipin Rai, Member, DUSIB

Some other members, however, hold a contrarian view. A senior engineer spoke to The Quint, on the condition of anonymity.

Please do something about this. You know how difficult it is to set up a house in the city. We have constructed these flats within a limited budget. But the process of allotment is exceptionally slow. These flats will become homes only when the allotment department gets people shifted there.

Who is Responsible?

The DUSIB has absolved itself of responsibility. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
The DUSIB has absolved itself of responsibility. (Photo: The Quint)

DUSIB: The process of allotment has now been relegated to the board, but they seem to have absolved themselves of the responsibility after claiming that they were given the task only a year ago.

Manish Sisodia, Urban Development Minister: The Quint tried to get in touch with him, but there was no response.

Ajay Maken, Former Urban Development Minister: The Quint tried to contact him too, but did not get any response.

Current Conditions of Slum-Dwellers in Delhi

  • 49% of Delhi’s population resides in slums.
    According to latest statistics, there are 4,20,000 slums in the city.
    205 of these slums are near sewage drains, which are a cause of diseases like dengue and malaria.
    One-fourth of these slums do not have bathrooms.


49% of Delhi’s population resides in slums. (Photo:<b> The Quint</b>)
49% of Delhi’s population resides in slums. (Photo: The Quint)

Given these conditions, all that the “urban poor” are demanding is the allocation of the flats that have been constructed for them. And those who have already been allocated flats, demand that they be shifted.

We think we will get the flats only in 2022 now, or maybe before elections. if we are lucky.
Sadanand, Resident, slum in Gole Market

The AAP-led Delhi government, along with the DUSIB need to be more sensitive towards the conditions of these dwellers and understand the urgency of the situation.

If they don’t, these flats, constructed for the poor, will end up in shambles.

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad

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