Little cheer for unauthorised areas in East DelhiMay 1st, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS
By Mayank Aggarwal
New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Poor sewerage, contaminated drinking water and irregular supply, congested bylanes paint a dismal picture of living conditions in West Vinod Nagar, one of the many unauthorised areas of East Delhi constituency.
“Whether it is water, electricity or sewage problems, everything is a mess in this area. No elected representative of ours has visited us in the last few years,” complained 55-year-old Pramod Kumar Gupta, who was sitting at his shop a few metres from the venue of an election meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Chetan Chauhan.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit is the MP from East Delhi, which has over 1.6 million voters. West Vinod Nagar is one of the many unauthorised colonies - with illegal residences as well as shops - in this constituency.
Gupta, who has lived in the area for more than two decades with his family, says he has seen it all. Pointing to some adjacent houses, he said: “I have witnessed how this place turned into a concrete jungle.”
His wife Mithlesh and son Vineet, who were sitting by his side, complained of stepmotherly treatment to unauthorised colonies even though their shop is legal.
“Why will the politicians work in our areas, they will first work in the good areas they live in. We don’t matter to them. We will vote for change and for good,” the mother-son duo said.
Sushil Kumar Rawat, who lives next to Gupta’s shop, voiced concern over rampant illegal constructions taking place in the area.
“My main concern is the illegal construction going on in the area. Besides that, there are problems regarding basic necessities. Overall, the present MP did not work as per our satisfaction,” said Rawat, who was completely disinterested in Chauhan’s meeting.
The issue of development in unauthorised areas has remained a bone of contention between the two main political parties of Delhi - the BJP and the Congress.
BJP’s Chauhan, who is fighting against Dikshit’s son, said: “One of my main concerns is development in unauthorised colonies that have been facing a stepmotherly treatment from the government from so many years. Aren’t the pople living in these areas human beings? They need basic necessities to live properly.”
“If I had been the son of the state’s chief minister and an MP at the same time, I would have brought development work of Rs.1,000 crore (Rs.10 billion) for the area. No matter where I would have arranged the investors from, but I would have changed the face of the area completely,” Chauhan, who is a two-time MP, told IANS.
Whosoever is chosen May 7 when the national capital goes to polls, locals want him to work for their area wholeheartedly.
“Everybody is talking about improving the city’s infrastructure and transport system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. But no one is focussing on our problems. I have been living here for six years but not once have I seen Sandeep Dikshit here,” said college student Sakshi Sharma.
Dikshit, however, told IANS: “It’s not true that I don’t visit my constituency.”
He had earlier said he would try to get more unauthorised colonies in his constituency regularised while continuing efforts to provide basic amenities.
“Work is already on in many such areas, for example Pandav Nagar and Chander Vihar, to develop basic infrastructure like water connections, internal colony roads, sewer system and drainage and lighting, and thereafter facilities like parks, community centres and sports grounds.”
Residents of illegal colonies say they will vote no matter what.
“It’s not that no development work was carried out in our area. But a lot still needs to be done. I have always voted and will do so this time too,” said shopkeeper Purushottam Singh.
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Tags: aggarwal, bone of contention, chief minister, concrete jungle, contaminated drinking water, east delhi, gupta, illegal construction, illegal constructions, janata party, mayank, rawat, sandeep dikshit, sewage problems, sheila dikshit, sushil kumar, unauthorised colonies, vineet, vinod, voiced concern