No development in this concrete jungle

No development in this concrete jungle

East Vinod Nagar has narrow lanes, poor sewerage, irregular water supply

Situated beside Delhi Development Authority's relatively posh Mayur Vihar Phase II,  East Vinod Nagar paints a dismal picture with congested lanes, poor sewerage, and irregular supply of contaminated drinking water.

Mayur Vihar Phase II  residents have wide roads, neatly designed homes, parks and playgrounds – facilities which the residents of  unauthorised East Vinod Nagar only dream about. During monsoon there is slush on the lanes, making them difficult to negotiate.

The east Delhi colony has been around for over 20 years and now has a population of  more than a lakh, mainly migrants from Bihar and Uttarakhand. Although many houses are occupied by the owners themselves, they remain unplastered.  About 70 per cent of the buildings are five-storeyed, built after bribing both police and municipal corporation officials.

“Many lanes are so narrow that if three or four people stand outside their house, they block the lane.  There is hardly any space for two bikes to pass at the same time,” says Umesh Chaurasia, who has been living in East Vinod Nagar for almost two decades.

Dilapidated five-storeyed buildings house more than 40 people each. The rooms are tiny and dark, the staircases small and the buildings have no balconies. “But what can we do? Despite this the room rents are high and the landlords rough,” says Ravindra Rajhav. For two rooms one has to shell out more than Rs 5,000 per month. “This is how life is,” he says.

Almost every building owner has made an unauthorised shop on the ground floor, which adds to the chaos.

With so many people staying in a single building, there is a scramble for drinking water. Water supply is irregular. “Sometimes the water supplied smells foul,” says Balesh Devi, who has been living in the area for the last 10 years.

Then there are the security issues. “With no police patrolling in the area we really feel unsafe. There is no sense of security in the area. There are regular fights between people over parking ,” says Dharmendra Singh.

Singh says burglaries and vehicle thefts take place regularly. “Every week, two to three bikes are stolen and a house burgled.”

But those living in rented accommodation fear that instead of picking the real culprits the police would start harassing them, so they often don't lodge complaints about petty crime.

“The area has a lot of hooligan elements and they often hang out during evening and morning when girls leave for school or colleges, or return home,” says Krishan Kumar.
When reminded that the area would be regularised very soon, Kumar says, “Everybody is talking about improving the city's infrastructure. But no one is focusing on our basic problems. If the colony is regularised will it improve   living conditions? Where is the space for development in this concrete jungle?”

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