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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Water shortage, poor drainage, traffic jams pressing issues in South Delhi

While political parties are seeking votes on issues like Ram temple, corruption, unemployment and inflation, the locals said the candidates should instead focus on ensuring basic amenities and addressing civic issues.
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 08:07 IST
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 08:07 IST

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New Delhi: Sitting in the hot summer sun with two empty jerry cans, 26-year-old Rajneesh Kumar waits for a water tanker to arrive due to the erratic water supply at his house in south Delhi's Sangam Vihar -- a crisis that has become a part of life for the last 12 years.

Apart from water scarcity, traffic snarls, lack of parking space and poor drainage system are among the other issues plaguing the South Delhi constituency, according to local residents.

Voting will be held on May 25 for all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital.

While political parties are seeking votes on issues like Ram temple, corruption, unemployment and inflation, the locals said the candidates should instead focus on ensuring basic amenities and addressing civic issues.

"My father bought this house 25 years ago. When I was a child, there was no water shortage but as I grew, water crisis became a part of our life," Kumar, a resident of F Block in Sangam Vihar said.

"For the last 10 years, we have been dependent on water tankers as there is no supply of drinking water in our locality," he added.

"Kumar, who works at a computer shop in Nehru Place, said the government has no plan for water storage despite the groundwater level going down in the area."

According to police, fights over water are a regular affair in areas like Sangam Vihar, Mehrauli, Chattarpur, Bijwasa and Aaya Nagar.

Before the delimitation exercise carried out in 2008, the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency comprised a number of upscale areas, but now it predominantly has urban villages, unauthorised and resettlement colonies and slums which present several infrastructural challenges.

Mehrauli, Chattarpur, Bijwasan and Neb Sarai -- which share their borders with Haryana -- have farmhouses spread across acres of land and surrounded by green forests while Badarpur, Sangam Vihar, Tughlakabad, Govindpuri are mostly inhabited by slum dwellers and people living in unauthorised colonies and rural villages.

South Delhi has 10 assembly segments -- Chattarpur, Palam, Bijwasan, Kalkaji, Mehrauli, Deoli, Ambedkar Nagar, Sangam Vihar, Tughlakabad and Badarpur.

Jaitpur resident Sandeep Verma, who owns a mobile shop on the Mehrauli-Badapur Road, said every monsoon the drains get choked and the road gets flooded with dirty water.

"I don't know whether my single vote will bring any change here but I will vote for sure," Verma said adding, that "long traffic jams are another issue that needs to be addressed immediately."

None of the candidates coming here for campaigning talks about these issues, he rued.

"Despite the construction of some flyovers and underpasses, our leaders have failed to give us jam-free roads. The best example is the Palam-Dwarka flyover that remains choked for hours every day," Hema Bhandari, an engineer in a government department, said.

Meanwhile, some localities of Govindpuri, Kalkaji, Ambedkar Nagar and Badarpur don't have enough parking space due to unauthorised constructions and narrow lanes.

Unlike the 2019 parliamentary elections when the seat witnessed a triangular contest between the BJP, the AAP and the Congress, this time it is a direct fight between BJP's Ramvir Singh Bidhuri (71) and the AAP's Sahi Ram Pehalwan (64), who is supported by the Congress. The Congress and the AAP are a part of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc.

Pehalwan, who is a Tughlaqabad MLA, is contesting the Lok Sabha polls for the first time. He said his first three priorities after winning the polls would be to build a hospital, schools and a sports stadium in south Delhi.

"I will build a big hospital in South Delhi after arranging land through the Centre or the DDA. If the DDA does not do it, the Delhi government’s funds will be utilised. A lot has been done in the field of education, but there is a need to do more. We will build schools after getting land from the DDA,” he said.

He said the youth, especially athletes, want a stadium in South Delhi to prepare for national and international sporting events and he would fulfil this demand.

Ramvir Bidhuri is an MLA from the Badarpur assembly segment, a key legislative constituency in the South Delhi Lok Sabha seat. The BJP picked him over two-time MP from the seat -- Ramesh Bidhuri.

Ramvir Bidhuri said the people of South Delhi are suffering due to the lack of water supply and poor transportation.

He said the Yamuna River is still poisonous and Delhi has become the most polluted city under the current AAP rule.

He said if elected, he would restart the old age pension scheme and implement the "Pradhanmantri Ayushman Yojana" in Delhi.

He also promised to provide free treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh to those above 70 years. Ration cards will be provided to all the eligible people of Delhi, he said.

Both Ramvir Bidhuri and Pehalwan are Gurjars.

The South Delhi constituency has been represented in the past by popular leaders such as Sushma Swaraj, Madan Lal Khurana and Vijay Kumar Malhotra.

In 1999, former prime minister Manmohan Singh contested the seat but lost to Malhotra by 30,000 votes.

The constituency currently has 22,21,445 voters with 31 per cent of them belonging to the OBC community, 16 per cent Dalits, 9 per cent Gurjars, 7 per cent Muslims, and 5 per cent Punjabis among others.

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Published 22 May 2024, 08:07 IST

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