Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Cameraperson: Akanksha Kumar
“There is a shortage of water. Have been buying cans, each of which costs Rs 15,” says Reena, a resident of Jaitpur Extension in south Delhi.
In her sixties, Reena has been living in this area for the last 20 years and longs for basic amenities which are absent in this locality as it happens to be an ‘illegal colony’ according to the DDA (Delhi Development Authority).
Jaitpur is among the seventy colonies in the capital that sprang up in the late 60s near River Yamuna – an area often referred to as the Yamuna floodplain.
After the DDA classified the area as O-Zone in 2008, construction is banned there as it’s considered to be an eco-sensitive area.
However, the ban has allegedly given way to illegal practices, with MCD officials often turning a blind eye to construction in lieu of money and on other occasions, turning up to demolish the entire establishment.
“Whoever is constructing a house anywhere, the MCD springs into action and demands bribe money. If their demands are fulfilled then it’s fine, else, if a poor man is not able to fulfil their demands then his house is immediately demolished.”Salim Saifi, Interior Decorator
Ban on construction means that a senior secondary school for students of class 6-12 has not been completed till date. Another plot, which a plaque announces to be a 100-bed hospital was laid down in 2007, and has been converted into a dump yard.
“Jaitpur’s Khadda Colony has a large population but there’s no school here. Children have to go to Shaheen Bagh or Molarband which is 3-5 km away.”Anil Sharma, Convener, ‘O-Zone’ Sangharsh Samiti
Ahead of the Delhi Assembly Elections, residents of Jaitpur are once again raising their age-old demand of regularising the colony on the grounds that it’s not really within 300 metres of the periphery around Yamuna.
“Whoever helps in ending this completely, we will support that party. Otherwise the collective decision taken in our meetings is to opt for NOTA.”Anil Sharma, Convener, ‘O-Zone’ Sangharsh Samiti
Reena, on the other hand has made up her mind already regarding whom she will vote for – “I will vote for Aam Aadmi Party,” she said, exulting in the work done by the incumbent government.