On Saturday, several residents of Kathputli Colony travelled over 45 km to their new homes in Narela’s Pocket 4, Sector G7. Trucks and tempos carrying almirahs, utensils, coolers and several other household items came in every other hour, while electricians and plumbers made last-minute repairs.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which demolished over 500 jhuggis in the colony on Tuesday, has allotted 492 houses to residents in the Narela housing society. Till Saturday, 120 residents had moved in. The other residents are being moved to a transit camp in Anand Parbat for two years, till the agency redevelops the colony. According to the DDA, it has allotted 2,800 homes in Anand Parbat.
One of the residents, 22-year-old Nisha Maruti, who works as a make-up artist in Mansarovar Garden, said, “I came here to see what the DDA is offering. The flats are better than the jhuggis in Kathputli Colony — they have electricity and water. But I am not sure if I will shift here as it is far from my workplace. Even if I manage the commute, it will be late by the time I get home. And this area is deserted at night,” she said.
Like Nisha, many residents are worried about commuting to work from Narela, and the lack of markets and hospitals in the vicinity.
Rizwana Biwi’s family was among the first to arrive at the society. She and her husband spent a night in the open at Kathputli Colony, after their jhuggi was demolished on Monday. While Rizwana works as a domestic help in localities near Kathputli Colony, her husband works at a factory in Kirti Nagar. He earns Rs 10,000 per month, and Rs 3,000 for overtime. After the shift, Rizwana said she can no longer continue her job. “My husband will also not be able to work overtime as he will reach home late… The DDA should have at least let us choose where we want to be relocated,” she said.
Connectivity to different parts of the city was flagged as an issue by most people allotted homes in Narela and Rohini as part of the DDA’s 2014 housing scheme. President of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Vinod Kumar Meena, who lives in E7, said, “The nearest government hospital is Raja Harish Chandra, which is 10 km away. The nearest market is 7 km away. There is no public transport. We have requested the DDA to ask the DTC to provide bus service in the area, but in vain,” he said.
DDA principal commissioner J P Aggarwal said, “The locality is still developing. We have planned several other sub-cities in Narela. Soon, the area will develop like Dwarka and other areas.” The agency has also asked residents to pay Rs 1.42 lakh within a month, so they can be given ownership of their homes. But faced with the possibility of losing their jobs, they said this is an added financial burden.
Aggarwal, however, said, “The money is to be paid as per DUSIB policy — it is a fraction of the actual rate of the house. We are thinking of helping residents avail bank loans. We might extend the payment deadline as well.”