Delhi Cabinet ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj on Sunday visited slum clusters in the national capital and accused the BJP of conspiring to remove slum dwellers.
AAP’s ‘Ghar bachao, BJP hatao’ campaign on Sunday kicked off against the BJP-ruled central government’s alleged policy to render Delhi’s slum-dwellers homeless.
Atishi visited B R Camp slum while her Cabinet colleague Bharadwaj met residents of slums near the Safdarjung Flying Club in south Delhi.
“The BJP-led central government is conspiring to raze the slum areas of Delhi and relocate its residents 40 to 50 km away from their homes. AAP and (Delhi) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are standing with them (slum dwellers),” Atishi said, during her visit to the slum cluster.
The minister said that as long as the people of B R Camp do not get flats in the same place as their existing houses, they will not let the DDA touch even a single house.
“Whether we have to stand in front of bulldozers or obtain orders from the court, the Aam Aadmi Party will not let the people living in the slums of B R Camp become homeless. BJP is ashamed of slum-dwellers, that is why they are bulldozing people’s homes in the middle of extreme winter,” she alleged.
The BJP-led DDA is forcing slum dwellers to relocate 50 km away in Narela and Kakrola, pushing them miles away from their jobs and their children’s schools, she said.
Echoing similar views, Mr Bharadwaj said that drivers, maids, cooks, etc have been living in Delhi’s JJ clusters with their families.
“The BJP-led central government is conspiring against them to remove these people (slum dwellers) out of their houses. As per the law, the authorities cannot demolish a listed cluster without giving them proper houses. What the BJP is doing is illegal and inhumane,” he alleged.
Mr Bharadwaj urged the judiciary to not order demolition of any jhuggi-jhopdi (JJ) cluster in Delhi until in-situ house is provided to the slum-dwellers as per the law.
Expressing his concerns, the minister further added that in the Safdarjung Flying Club’s slum cluster, the Railways has issued a notice stating that people should evacuate on their own, while the responsibility for rehabilitation lies with the central government.
Mr Bharadwaj said that the central government’s agencies have rendered countless people homeless in Sunder Nursery, Tughlaqabad, Mehrauli, Vasant Vihar, and Priyanka Colony.
He alleged that for the last few months, it has been observed that the BJP-ruled central government agencies like the ASI, Railways, DDA, Land and Development Organisation are “conspiring” to demolish JJ clusters wherever they are on their lands.
“These people live here with their small children. Those children study in the nearby government schools, those women either work in the nearby houses or their husbands work in the nearby markets. Where will these people go?” he said.
Terming the DDA notice issued to the slum-dwellers as “cruel”, the senior AAP leader said the notice orders the dwellers to shift from this place to some other place themselves.
“The responsibility of displacement lies with the agency to which the land belongs. This land belongs to the central government, hence it is the responsibility of the DUSIB (Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board). It is their responsibility to first identify each slum-dweller and prepare their record and provide them a house in the vicinity. After giving a house, their shanties can be demolished,” he said.
The BJP attacked AAP and said that the Centre has built thousands of houses for the poor of Delhi in Kathputli Colony, Kalkaji, and Jailerwala Bagh but Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should tell what he has done to give homes to poor.
“The Modi government is continuously providing free ration to 72 lakh people in Delhi, has provided around two lakh free Ujjwala connections and provided Sunidhi employment loans to lakhs of poor.
“On the contrary, despite the promise, Mr Kejriwal has neither allowed the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to reach the real poor living in rented houses,” said Delhi BJP Chief Virendra Sachdeva.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)