As the evening set in, women gathered near the main gate of the DDA colony in Pocket 4, Sector G7 in Narela and engaged in idle banter while their children played in the lawn. Very few men could be spotted as “most had not returned from work” and some elderly people set up temporary shops to sell chips, tobacco and biscuits.
The 840 flats in Sector G7 in Narela were allocated to the over 800 families that were displaced after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) carried out a demolition drive in Kathputli Colony four months ago. The remaining 2,800 families – who could not be accommodated in the Narela colony – have been sent to a transit camp in Anand Parbat. However, those shifted to Narela are far from happy.
Twenty-five-year-old Nidhi Prasad’s husband Rahul (30) works as a driver at a private firm. Three months after the family was allocated a flat in Narela, Rahul rented a place for Rs 4,000, a month in Pandav Nagar. Nidhi said, “At Pandav Nagar, he shares a room with four other men. He is staying there because commuting from here to Delhi on a daily basis was getting difficult. Drivers cannot be late for work.”
She also mentioned how difficult it is for her to find a job in Narela. “Earlier, I used to earn around Rs 6,000 a month by doing stitching work for a clothes factory. Such jobs are hard to get here. I don’t want to work in the factories in the industrial area,” she said.
Like her, most others who have been rehabilitated in Narela said while the new homes given by the DDA are neat, spacious, and has bathroom facility, their income has shrunk massively due to lack of opportunities and increased expenses.
While sources said more than 250 families which were allotted flats in the Narela colony have not shifted yet, DDA said the number would not be more than 50. Besides job, education for kids and drinking water remain the other major worries for the residents of the colony.
Rahul, 14, who studies in Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya (President’s Estate), said, “I change three buses to go to school. I was planning to change schools but most government schools here are not as good.”
DDA principal commissioner JP Agarwal told The Indian Express, “The area is developing gradually. Soon, there will be more job opportunities here. We are also trying to provide more DTC buses.”