The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is in the eye of a storm for allegedly diverting 2,400 flats meant for jhuggi dwellers to members of the public from the Low Income Group (LIG) category.
The DDA, which decided in 2013 to allot 2,400 flats in Dwarka, Sector 23, to 2,383 jhuggi dwellers from the Vikaspuri area of West Delhi, instead started selling those flats to LIG category allottees. Sanjay Gupta, a social activist, who has been fighting for the rights of jhuggi dwellers in Vikaspuri and other parts of Delhi, told The Sunday Guardian: “The UPA government in 2013 had made an announcement of rehabilitating the jhuggi dwellers in Vikaspuri to Dwarka Sector 23, for which the construction of 2,400 flats were undertaken, but since the government changed in 2014, the DDA started taking advantage of this. The flats which were meant for rehabilitating the jhuggi dwellers are being sold to the general public by the DDA, for reasons best known to them.”
Gupta, along with the jhuggi dwellers, held a protest at Jantar Mantar this week to make their voices heard. “We have been protesting here so that the Central government takes note of this incident. The present government does not have knowledge of the sale of these flats and about how the DDA officials are diverting the flats meant for the EWS (Economically Weaker Section) category to other groups,” he added.
A jhuggi dweller in one of the camps in Vikaspuri said, “I was very happy that I would move to a new house in Dwarka, but now we have been told that those houses are no more meant for us. This is the fate of the poorest people in the country. I have to continue sleeping in a tented house near this landfill, braving the cold during the winters and rains.”
According to Gupta, Vikaspuri MLA Mahendra Yadav (Aam Aadmi Party) has been of no help to them though he has been approached several times. Gupta is also unhappy with the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, as it has refused to intervene in this case, maintaining land in Delhi is a “Centre’s subject”.
The DDA, in a press release dated 19 August 2013, had also talked about the decision of the DDA to allot the flats of the Dwarka Sector 23 housing society to jhuggi dwellers in Vikaspuri and Shanker Garden.
However, DDA has refuted charges of corruption. Neemo Dhar, spokesperson of DDA, told The Sunday Guardian, “There has been no corruption. For EWS category housing, the government provides subsidy, but in this case, the government failed to provide us with any subsidy and thus the DDA had to build the flats on its own cost. The specifications with which the flats have been constructed do not qualify as EWS houses as they are higher than the specifications of the EWS category. This is the reason we had to convert them to LIG category.”
Gupta, however, said, “Our only demand is that these 2,383 jhuggi dwellers should be rehabilitated as promised.”