Civil society seeks relief for Bawana slum dwellers

The Hindu

The Hindu recently revealed the plight and non-responsive governance and management of Delhi Government towards the slum dwellers of Bawana who were struck by a massive fire earlier this month.

The Bawana Sangharsh Samiti (BSS) and the Hazards Centre alleged that the fire and the resultant damage it caused had become an occasion for public authorities to harass people residing here. They said that women and children were treated shabbily when they sought temporary shelter and that ambulances which arrived at the spot were “extracting money” for services to access hospitals.

Bawana residents also allegedly told the BSS that the fire brigade arrived two hours after the fire had spread. “It has also been observed that electricity supply was cut off in the area half an hour before the fire broke out.

Most of the affected people were allegedly evicted from several jhuggi jhopri clusters in and around prime locations in Delhi by the DDA, shifted to Bawana, and have ever since been fighting doggedly for resettlement plots.

The BSS said that the Lieutenant-Governor had on March 7, 2012, directed the DDA to accept either their voter ID card or the ration card, which were verified by the State Election Commission or the Food and Supplies Office (FSO), which showed these persons met the cut-off date for eligibility. However, the verification process was not completed despite a three-month deadline set by the L-G.

“The DDA under the L-G has passed orders in the last 2-4 years as a result of the struggle of people from Bawana to ensure immediate allotment of plots to these families. But the delay which the DDA is responsible for, has led over 500 families to face this day when they have lost their loved ones, their entitlements and all their belongings.

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