The buildings stand ready, as they have for over three years, awaiting occupants. The latched main gate announces the name of the agency that executed the housing project — DUSIB. Inside, two guards rest on the porch of one of the buildings. The paint on the structures has started peeling, although the flats, unlocked are in good condition, albeit gathering dust and cobwebs. Two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The complex has a small park which at present holds construction waste.
In a locality of crammed houses and virtually no open space, the five-storey buildings of the complex stand out. Just off the Outer Ring Road, the approach to the area is marked with potholes, and stench from the open drains wafts in.
The 1,060 flats were constructed to rehabilitate slum dwellers in Sultanpuri area of the national capital. The construction was completed in June 2013, within 15 months of the award of contract at a cost of more than Rs 51 crore. Due to lack of allotment, workers who were once involved in the construction of the flats are staying in some of them.
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“We have been here since construction finished three years ago. The government didn’t take control of the complex and we were still here so we stayed,” said a worker.
One of the guards claimed the workers did not live there permanently but only between jobs. “The flats are lying empty and the workers lived here even during construction,” he said.
A ‘baraat ghar’ next to the complex is under construction. The residents of the locality are hopeful the flats will be allotted by Diwali and at least some of them will be able to move into the flats. “What this means for us is a better lifestyle for our children. When we don’t have an address how will we have proof for it? And for this reason, the schools don’t admit our kids,” said Kavita, who lives inside complex.