Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Slum rehabilita­tion hits policy roadblock

- Risha Chitlangia

NEW DELHI: For Abdul Hameed, 42, a daily wager, the possibilit­y of owning a house in the national capital became a reality when he deposited ₹1.42 lakh with the Delhi government’s Delhi Urban Shelter Improvemen­t Board (DUSIB) in 2019, for allotment of a house under the rehabilita­tion policy.

Today, while the bank has started deducting instalment­s against the loan, his dream is still far from becoming reality. “There is no clarity on when we will get the possession of the flat,” said Hameed, who is struggling to feed his family of six due to the pandemic.

Hameed’s family is among 69 that were rendered homeless after the slum cluster they lived in near RML hospital in central Delhi was demolished in 2009. The families moved court and, on its interventi­on, were relocated temporaril­y to Delhi government’s Punjabi Academy building in Paharganj. After a decade-long battle, the Delhi high court ordered in April 2019 that the displaced families be rehabilita­ted.

Advocate Jayashree Satpate, who represente­d the families in the high court, said, “They are living in precarious conditions, facing problems related to safety, water, electricit­y and other socio-economic rights.”

Like these 69 families, there are 287 families living along the Barapullah drain near East Kidwai Nagar who had made the payments two years back, but are awaiting relocation.

While the pandemic delayed the rehabilita­tion of the two clusters last year, DUSIB officials said it has now hit a roadblock due to the Centre’s new scheme to provide houses on rent.

As per the Centre’s Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) scheme, houses built under Upa-era schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) are to be provided to migrant workers on rent.

DUSIB member Bipin Rai said they had written to the Centre, opposing the rental scheme “but they refused allotment under our rehabilita­tion policy”.

In a letter dated March 22, 2021, DUSIB has given a list of slum clusters from where relocation charges from land-owning agencies and slum dwellers have been collected as per the rehabilita­tion policy.

There are around 13 clusters where a large number of eligible beneficiar­ies have made the payments.

Rai said, “We have written to the Centre to allow us to allot flats to those who have already deposited the money under the rehabilita­tion policy. So far there is no response on it.”

A senior HUA ministry official confirmed that they have received the communicat­ion. “The matter is under considerat­ion,” said the official.

Social worker Shakeel Abdul, convenor of Basti Suraksha Manch, said, “Most of these people have taken loans from banks or relatives... Many of them were rendered jobless due to the pandemic. The government should start the rehabilita­tion process at the earliest.”

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