The city government has set in motion the process to remove 33 slums from different parts of the city — bulldozers will start rolling into the slums from October. Clearing the air on the status of residents of these slums, urban development minister Raj Kumar Chauhan made the stand clear after a review — led by chief minister Sheila Dikshit — that the 6,738 people found eligible out 10,017 applicants will be relocated to flats developed for the economically weaker sections in areas like Bawana and Narela.
The other slum dwellers, consisting of nearly 58%, will either have to present documents to make the cut or fend for themselves. Incidentally, the decision on removal of slums and the attempt to yet again expedite the much delayed allotment process for the 9,600 odd flats in areas like Narela and Bawana comes two days after the Lokayukta, Justice Manmohan Sarin, indicted the chief minister for misrepresenting facts while announcing that 60,000 flats were ready for EWS category under the Rajiv Ratna Awaas Yojana in the run–up to the 2008 assembly polls in Delhi.
Silent on the Lokayukta’s order since Monday, the chief minister was cautious with her words after the meeting on Wednesday. When asked if she would respond to the Lokayukta’s order, Dikshit said, “Yes, we will.” When asked about the possibility of taking a legal recourse, the CM said “let us see…”, indicating that the option is being considered.
Urban development minister Raj Kumar Chauhan announced that the process for removing 33 slums out of the 212 under the purview of the state, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and MCD is likely to begin in October.
The state government after conducting a survey found 15,713 jhuggis in the city’s slum clusters. Applications from residents as per the eligibility criteria for EWS housing were sought, and just 10,017 applied out of which only 42% (6,738) were found eligible. With 58% slum residents failing to make the cut, the city government is now trying to find a solution.
According to Chauhan, all slums to be relocated will be given 45 days notice prior to the demolition. Residents will be given a chance to submit documents to make it to the eligibility list. “We will accept documents till two days before a slum cluster is demolished. Those who do not meet the criteria or cannot furnish the documents will have to fend for themselves and look for alternatives,” Chauhan said, making it clear that the government has no relief plan for them.
The minister said that when the next set of slum clusters would be removed after the initial 33 slums, the government would have in place holding areas on the lines of a dormitory. “These will be transit accommodations for six months for the residents who are found ineligible for the EWS flats. They will be allowed to stay on rent until they make alternative arrangements,” he added.
When asked to comment on the relocation issue, the chief minister maintained that nobody would be removed in an inhumane manner and that the government would make arrangements like transit accommodation on the lines of dharamshalas even for residents of the initial 33 slum clusters that will be demolized in October.