What rehabilitation? ask residents of Kathputli Colony

By Azera Rahman, IANS,

New Delhi : Sakhuja Devi’s husband is a puppeteer while she with her daughter makes puppets in their tiny home in Kathputli Colony. When told that work for rehabilitation of residents in the area was in progress, she sounded alarmed.

Support TwoCircles

“Well, some people did come to the colony and take photographs of our house and asked my husband some questions. They were saying something about shifting us to a place temporarily and then to a better house. But I am worried…what if we don’t get a house?” she asked.

Rameshwari Devi, Sakhuja’s neighbour, had no idea about the plan. “What shifting? Where will we have to go?” she asked.

As per the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) slum makeover plan, the Kathputli Colony – a West Delhi shantytown which derives its name from of roadside artists, musicians, puppeteers and others resident there – will be given a makeover and its residents rehabilitated in-situ.

Real estate firm Raheja Developers has got the Rs.6.11 crore contract to rehabilitate the residents.

Manoj Goyal, general manager of the firm, said: “Next week the DDA will allot an alternative site to us for the temporary accommodation of the residents of the colony.

“This site, which will be within a distance of two kilometres from the Kathputli colony, will be developed by us for the temporary staying arrangements. It will take us three-four months to do that,” Goyal told IANS.

Under the contract, after the transit camps are ready, people of the colony will be shifted there and Raheja Developers will start the construction of flats in the colony.

“We will construct 2,800 flats in 10-storey buildings in the colony. Each flat will be of 30-37 sq metres. Not just that, we will also make a school, a dispensary, banquet halls and parking space – it will be a proper housing society,” Goyal said.

The colony which currently houses 2,700 families will be accommodated in these flats, he added.

“The DDA has made a list of those who have been living in the colony for a long time and given them tokens, on the basis of which these flats will be allotted,” Goyal said.

In return, Raheja Developers will get 10 percent of the land on which they will build commercial establishments like offices and shops.

“We expect the rehabilitation work on the colony to begin by March 2010 and to complete it by March 2012,” Goyal told IANS.

However, despite his claims that the move has been heartily welcomed by all of the colony’s inhabitants, a number of the residents still seem to have no clue about it.

“If it’s a better life they are promising us, I hope it’s true. But I don’t want to lose the roof over my head,” Rameshwari Devi said.