The Delhi government’s housing board has started groundwork to decide if the city’s nomadic communities should be a part of its ongoing survey to assess housing needs of slum dwellers, according to officials privy to the development.
The demand survey, being carried out since mid-June by an NGO chosen through a bidding process, has covered approximately 1 lakh households in slums so far. The submissions were made to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) Thursday.
“A few members of nomadic communities met CM Kejriwal recently. They requested that the demand survey include them as well, as the young generation is more keen on settling down and taking up professions other than what they have been doing traditionally. Subsequently, the CM’s office forwarded the proposal to DUSIB,” an official said.
The official said for now, DUSIB has asked its area engineers to map such communities in their areas. “Before we include them in the survey, we need to hear them out. Such a decision cannot be taken based on the views presented by a delegation. Many of them would not like to move away from their sources of earnings. We will have to ensure that we provide them with workplaces to showcase their skills. After the local assessments, a report will be sent to the CM’s office,” the official said.
The nomadic communities, which also include members of denotified tribes, are mostly into puppetry, singing, acrobatics, construction work, showing tricks with animals, etc.
Meanwhile, as part of the survey, teams of volunteers are covering an average of 2,200 households daily. They have been given a deadline of November.
Delhi has around 675 slum clusters officially, which are mostly on government land. The land-owning agencies include DDA, the municipal corporations, DUSIB and railways.
In case of the ongoing survey, the DDA has communicated to the Delhi government that it will take care of rehabilitation of around 55 slum clusters falling on its land. Once a slum cluster is surveyed, the NGO submits a report to DUSIB after sorting out data collected from ration cards, Aadhaar cards, voter IDs along with pictures through an in-house mobile app. “Later, DUSIB does a verification covering around 10% of households surveyed in a cluster. After that, households eligible for rehabilitation under the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojana are frozen. Eligible families will then be given certificates,” the official explained.
Initially, the survey was supposed to take place to identify potential beneficiaries under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme, which has been replaced by the Mukhya Mantri Awas Yojana (MMAY).