All that the Wahi family want is a little peace and quiet. And space for pedestrians outside their house on Pusa Road.
Residing there for decades,Sanjay Wahi says the family had no idea when authorities decided to construct a bus shelter outside their house.
He was shocked when he came home one day and found the area outside the gate of his house being dug up.
But Kewal Krishan Wahi,Sanjays father,decided not to keep quiet. He questioned the rationale of a bus stop right outside his house. My father knew it was not going to be easy. Taking on the authorities,he realised,would take for a lot of persistence and conviction. And he had both, Sanjay said.
The family wrote several letters to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) stating there was already a plethora of public transport options in and around the area and a bus shelter at a distance of less than 100 metres. There would be issues relating to pedestrian safety since the sidewalk had been demolished. When no response was forthcoming,Kewal Krishan Wahi filed a petition in Delhi High Court in November 2010.
The court has now ruled in favour of the Wahis. The order stated that the bus stop was not required.
Noting that the area outside the house was dug up for construction,Justice Vipin Sanghi gave Delhi government four weeks to restore it.
When Newsline visited Wahis house on Wednesday,the work of restoring the sidewalk was being carried out on a war-footing. Kashiram,a worker,said: We only started fixing it (the sidewalk) today at 10 am. We have been instructed to finish the work by 7pm.
Sanjay (49) was pleased with the decision. Our house is on a main road with heavy pedestrian and car traffic. If they made a bus stop here,there would be no space for pedestrians and that is what really concerned my father.
Sanjay hoped his case would be an example for others. I am glad people will hear about this,it might help them fight for their rights like we did.
When the case was first brought to court in 2010,the judge noted in his order that ever since advertising revenues are being earned from such bus shelters,all of a sudden the number of shelters has gone up.
The court had asked the DTC on its policy regarding the bus shelters as well as the logic for locating the bus shelter in front of the property of the petitioner.
The DTC,on the final day of hearing,conceded that a bus stop was not required outside Wahis house and the court disposed the petition after taking on record their submission.
Public money was used to first demolish a sidewalk and then construct it again. Has the government taken note of such instances? Sanjay said.
(Aditya Keswani is on an internship with The Indian Express)