Kathputli Colony residents’ plight: Jain writes to Naidu
The minister, who had visited the area three days ago, claimed that the residents are being pressurised to sign eviction agreements which is unlawful but the Central authorities have turned blind eyes towards their plights. The minister, who holds a portfolio of Urban Development in the Delhi government, informed to have shot off a missive to the Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu highlighting the hardship of over three thousand residents living in the colony for the past five-six decades.
Reacting over the crisis, Jain said that residents of Kathputli Colony should not be forcibly evicted since complaints are being received about residents being forced to sign agreement slips to leave their dwellings. The minister further asked the Central government to ensure that the agreements with residents are without any coercion and are fair.
The minister in his letter stated: “There should be no forced eviction. The unfortunate fact is that residents are being forced to sign eviction slips; power and water connections are being cut off and residents are living surrounded by a heavy deployment of armed police personnel. There is nobody to reassure or counsel the residents and to answer their legitimate queries.”
He urged: “There should be a proper agreement between all stakeholders which should clearly spell out the rights of each party. One agreement was being circulated today (Thursday) but no time was given to the residents to read this agreement and to make an informed decision for themselves let alone taking legal advice regarding the same,” he pointed.
“A survey with the revised cut-off date of January 1, 2015 should be carried out by DUSIB, as per the directions of the High Court. The current cut-off followed by the DDA in this project, that is January 31, 2011, is an arbitrary one and has caused much confusion amongst the residents,” said the letter.
“Right now, none of the residents know the time-table for deciding who will be included in the survey. They are simply being told to vacate their houses without prior information as to whether they will be allocated a flat in the redeveloped colony or not,” he added.
In the letter, Jain wrote of one girl whose “mentally ill” mother was allegedly forced to sign one such slip on the pretext of a survey. Earlier, on December 19, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), accompanied by several policemen, went house to house, asking residents to sign a slip saying they were ready to vacate their homes and shift to a transit camp at Anand Parbat. Jain had visited the colony on the day of the drive.
It may be mentioned that Kathputli Colony at Shadipur is the first slum taken up for in-situ redevelopment. A private firm will create temporary housing for 2,800 families in the transit camp and in two years, the apartment complexes will come up at the colony for residents to shift back into. A total of 527 families moved to Anand Parbat in 2014.