A month after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh handed over the keys of one-room tenements at Dhanas,the beneficiaries are yet to shift here. But many of them are undertaking renovation of the premises,with some of the changes being against the norms. Others are expressing unwillingness to shift for the next few months either to let their children take final exams or till they find employment near the houses.
The tenements in Dhanas were constructed for the economically weaker sections under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). A total of 6,110 beneficiaries have been identified who are being given allotment letters in phases. More than 3,000 allotment letters have already been issued. As per the condition in the letter,the beneficiaries were supposed to shift into the tenements within a period of one month from issuance of the allotment letter. Otherwise,the allotment can be cancelled. However,just a handful of people have shifted till now.
In fact,even before the beneficiaries have shifted,they are undertaking massive renovation of the tenements. While some are in the process of creating kitchens which are not present,others are partitioning the tenement into two. Still others have covered the balcony and are making space for a kitchen.
One of the beneficiaries who is renovating the tenement says that the houses allotted are not habitable in the present condition. It is not possible for a family to sustain in such conditions and there is a need to renovate the houses.
The Chandigarh Housing Board,which has sent thousands of notices for violations to people staying in houses under the board under general housing schemes,might find itself staring at violations in the EWS houses. While the residents have been demanding regularisation of need-based changes,a similar situation is arising at Dhanas.
Deep Chand,who currently resides in Nehru Colony in Sector 52 and has been allotted a tenement,says,It is not possible for my family to shift at present. My son studies at a school near our house. We want that he should take his final exams and only then would we shift. Otherwise,his studies would get affected. Also,there is a need for getting work done in the house. There is no provision even to hang a fan.
Another beneficiary,Gian Chand from Bapu Dham,claims that his place of work is near Bapu Dham and shifting to Dhanas would require commuting several kilometres everyday which is not convenient.
Meanwhile,staff of CHB is deployed to process the demands for electricity and water connections. One of the employees said that the beneficiaries were being warned not to undertake additional construction in the tenements as their allotment could be cancelled.
The administration had proposed to vacate Colony Number 5 as well as several smaller colonies over the next few weeks in order to take over the land that has been encroached upon by the slum dwellers. However,this does not seem likely very soon.