Mere Puppets: At Transit Camp, Kathputli Colony Awaits Dream Home

Mere Puppets: At Transit Camp, Kathputli Colony Awaits Dream Home

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Imagine being shifted from a jhuggi to a transit camp with the promise of being provided with a brand new home in a highrise, that too, at the same location.

For the 2,800-odd families of Delhi’s erstwhile Kathputli colony, that was demolished in 2017, this is probably the only scrap of hope that allows them to sleep every night, in a packed transit camp.

Now imagine the plight of segregated leprosy patients in the same camp.

(Photo: Anthony Rozario/The Quint)
Unable to move around and unknown to a large part of the displaced population, they probably are the most affected by a prolonged stay at the temporary shelter that was only meant to serve as a brief stopover in the journey to their dream home.

Welcome to the very end of Anand Parbat Transit Camp, home to some 47 families of leprosy patients, who too, were promised a home but are yet to even get a glimmer of it.

Lost Livelihood

Jaya, whose parents are leprosy patients, says that the Delhi Development Authority had promised them homes in 2017, but have not fulfilled the promise so far. The prolonged stay at the transit camp, she says, has robbed her of livelihood.

“I lost my job after shifting to the camp. It’s really far and we often get late for work. Moreover, we have to pay the rickshaw fare, which most of us cannot afford.”
Jaya

Much like Jaya, life at the transit camp has left Allama, a leprosy patient, in the lurch. At her earlier residence in Kathputli colony, she would beg and earn between Rs 10-Rs 20 per day. But Kathputli colony is too far from the transit camp for a leprosy patient like Allama, who on most days, isn’t able to earn a single penny.

“I am really hassled, I can’t move around here or beg. Please do something,” she says.

Ever since her family of four shifted to the camp, Anita, a leprosy patient, has not been able to send her kids to school on a regular basis. “At Kathputli colony, our kids could walk to school on foot. But here, they have to take an E-rickshaw. If I have money, I send them to school, if I don’t, they just sit at home,” she adds.

Delay in Construction Process

In April 2018, Union Minister Hardeep Puri had laid the foundation stone of the new buildings being constructed at Kathputli Colony, and the first batch of residents were expected to be shifted by March 2019.

However, according to reports, the disruption of power connection at the site, coupled with land disputes had delayed the project. DDA did not respond to a questionnaire mailed to it by The Quint.

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