Streets swept clean, locals hope Rahulji saw real thing

In Rajiv Gandhi Colony, Tuesday was not just another weekday. With shops shut down, the otherwise-choked streets free of vegetable stalls and “partially clean”, residents feared “Rahulji” would only see a “slice of their life” here.

A walk across the colony and the unsanitary conditions stare at you: open dumpyards, children defeacating in open, overflowing toilets, lack of quality drinking water and houses that almost look unliveable.


“We woke up to the early morning announcements of Rahul Gandhi coming to this area. They started cleaning the area from Monday evening. How much dirt can you actually hide?” asked Babita Singh, a resident of the transit camp here.

With 10 family members in her cramped jhuggi, Singh relies on the public toilet.
“The toilets are always overflowing and the waiting period goes up to half-an-hour. This happens even though we have to shell out a rupee for using it,” she added. 

Drinking water is also a problem with people relying on bore water. “Even though I have spent over 25 years here now, my grandchildren do not even have the basic right to drink clean water. Nobody seeks us ever. Now that the elections are here,” said Vrijesh Kumari in her mid-sixties. 
 
In the three transit camps of Kalkaji constituency’s Govindpuri – Nehru Camp, Navjwan Camp and Bhoomiheen Camp – most of the slumdwellers have little hope for development.

The proximity of a liquor vendor to the slum clusters has left women in the area “vulnerable”, residents said. Molestation is an everyday affair here, they added.


“It is impossible to let our girls go for tutions alone in the evening. This place has the worst living ambience. We have told the councillor several times that the thekha (liquor shop) should not be allowed to function at such proximity. Drunkards are all over the place passing lewd comments and disturbing girls,” said Sarabjit.

Her neighbour Bina agreed. “Most of the youths here are unemployed. Drunk men lying on the roads is the most common sight here. I wish the Rahulji would have seen what this place looks on any other day.”

With carts of vegetables and daily items choking the roads perenially, movement of pedestrians is restricted in the area.

“The vendors are in collusion with the police. Why can they not be rehabilitated in a designated area? This restricts movement of residents with the traffic always thrown out of gear,” said Asraf Ali, a resident of Govindpuri.
DH News Service

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