MP Assembly Election: It’s Still Stone Age in This Part of Gwalior

These stones absorb heat in the summers but what option does a poor person have, a resident of Stone Park says. 

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The Madhya Pradesh assembly election coverage has brought The Quint to Gwalior’s Stone Park, where all the houses are made of crushed stones.

At least 500 people live in these houses made of crushed stones, which are discarded by nearby factories. Residents say they can’t afford to have the walls plastered because they don’t have any money.

These stones absorb heat in the summers, but what option does a poor person have?Our children face a lot of problems because of the heat. We are forced to live under a tree during the day.  
A Resident, Stone Park, Gwalior 

Locals claim to have paid money to buy land in the ‘illegal settlement’, which lacks basic facilities like water, electricity, and schools. The residents say that they had been charged Rs 500 for paying the ‘electricity bill’ but there is no electricity, or even an electricity connection in the area. Two residents told The Quint:

“I have also bought it [the land] for Rs 1.10 lakh. But no one has given us any document. The government got the toilet constructed but they took Rs 1,300 from us. There is no water provided by the government. We have to purchase water for our use.” 
“Forget schools, there isn’t even an Anganwadi centre here. One Anganwadi centre was approved but it was later cancelled by the Parshad (councillor). The elder kids can still walk up to 3 km to go to school but the younger kids can’t.” 

Stone Park’s residents say that in the past, they have always voted for Chief Minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Yet the government has not provided any benefits, they claim. They allege that the local Parshad, instead of addressing their grievances, had asked the residents to vacate the area.

“We don’t have labour card or a ration card. All we have is this Aadhaar card,” another resident said.

The big question is: Why are the illegal settlements allowed in the first place? And now that there are people settled here, why are they not provided the basic amenities since they have Aadhaar cards with the same addresses?

Despite their issues, the people living in the crushed houses of Stone Park are eagerly waiting for candidates of political parties to pay them a visit.

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