The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), CFAR and Mahila Pragati Manch signed an MoU to collectively work for the realization of Adarsh Basti following a well-attended Public Hearing in Gram Kheda, Mansarovar Park, in East Delhi, recently.
The settlement has been included in the list of 52 ‘Adarsh Bastis’ of Delhi as identified by the Delhi government for development of these slums with focus on sanitation.
Delhi has 675 slums that have been identified by the government.
The project involved ensuring community toilets are available and are in good condition, creating ‘Shishu Vatikas’ or playing areas for children, proper sewage network, road resurfacing, water supply and adequate lighting on streets.
The MoU has been signed to expedite the services needed to make Gram Kheda a model basti. This MoU has been signed between DUSIB, CFAR and MPM to manage the up-gradation of the sanitation services across 12 ‘Adarsh Bastis’ in east Delhi
The Jury consisted of the Municipal Councilor, Veer Singh Pawar, officials from DUSIB, Narendra Singh, DJB (Delhi Jal Board), B.S Bedi, ASI-EDMC (East Delhi Municipal Corporation), Girish Prakash, AE-EDMC and D.B Sharma representative of RWA-Dilshad Garden
Representatives from Community Management Committee, Adolescent and Youth Group and Male Group deposed. The deponents included, Saroj Bala, RWA member, Tasleem Khan and Nagma.
The aim of the Public Hearing was to take stock of the progress made to upgrade facilities taken in an earlier Public Hearing held on December 26, 2016, where a minimum plan of action emerged to address the problems raised by the residents of the settlement.
The thrust of this Public Hearing was to develop consensus on the solution that both the community and civic bodies needed to take forward to address the long standing concerns of the settlement.
The major concerns of the area has been shortage of safe drinking water and unequal installation of taps leaving about 40 houses without any access to water; overflowing and clogged drains which need desilting; faulty gradient resulting in overflow of water onto the pavements and houses alongside; absence of electricity poles and street lights in some lanes making the area unsafe at night.
Lack of waste disposal facilities and irregular attendance of sanitation workers resulting in health problems especially among elderly and children was also raised. The matter of inadequate number of seats in the community toilets, absence of fixed charge for usage and lack of toilet facility at night were the other matters that were taken up.
The Public Hearing gave an opportunity to the community to raise their concerns with the government officials face-to-face.
Saroj Bala, an RWA member, deposed that, “there are no basic civic facilities in this community.”
“We do not get water from Delhi Jal Board, there is no permanent connection and even the pipeline is disconnected,” she added in her deposition
Responding to the deposition, Narendra Singh, Supervisor DJB, said that they have installed taps in consultation with the residents.
“It would be helpful if the residents cooperated with each other to take care of everyone’s needs. If the space for installing tanks is approved in community plan, I can get it fast tracked as soon as the CMC makes a written request. If the existing provision of one tanker of drinking water is insufficient please make a written request and we will send one more tanker,” the official added in his response
As part of the Jury, Councilor Veer Singh Pawar responded by stressing that “the Delhi Jal Board Junior Engineer should solve these issues on priority basis.
“If this is not done, I will be compelled to take strict action.”
Taking up the issue of clogged drains, Saroj Bala, deposed that: “Drains have not been cleaned for over six months. They have been so poorly constructed that the water flows back into the homes and mosquitoes breed in it.”
To this, Khajaan Singh, Junior Engineer from DUSIB responded that: “In two months you will see the change and asked the residents to record or contact officials directly if sanitation workers demand money for cleaning drains of lanes.”
Rakesh Kumar Action Engineer, DUSIB added to the official response by stating that the “approval has been given for an iron mesh to cover the big drain and the work will be complete within a week.”
Taking up the matter of security of women and girls while using the community toilets, Nagma, an ASHA worker deposed: “There are some groups of boys loitering around the CTC which discourages the girls and women from using them. Safety and security are a major concern. There are no open toilets at night.”
Khajaan Singh responded by urging the “residents to come together and address this problem collectively and firmly.”
Tasleem Khan, Ex-President of Gram Kheda deposed that: “We are charged every time we use the community toilet. The caretaker at the CTC charge Rs3 per or Rs5 use and this is extremely high for us.”
The DUSIB official, Khajaan Singh, responded that: “If all the users pay Rs.1 to the caretaker, the caretaker will not overcharge anyone. More budget has been allocated for construction of CTCs. However, even with this approval, the CTCs will be constructed only if there is enough space in the settlements. The residents will have to identify the common area where the new CTC can be constructed.”
Usha Rani from CFAR highlighted the lack of proper waste collection and in this connection stated that a petition has been forwarded by CMC members to the Councilor for installing sirens in auto tippers so that the residents are aware of its arrival and can use it in a timely manner
To this, Rakesh Kumar responded that they have already requested for an additional auto tipper for waste collection because the present auto tipper is currently catering to other settlements.
He also stated that the department has requisitioned for more tools and equipment to solve the problem of irregular collection.
Khajaan Singh offered to relocate the Aanganwadi in the place under the jurisdiction of DUSIB