Residents of the Kathputli Colony in west Delhi’s Shadipur Depot are being “forced” to leave the area, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain stated in a letter to Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu. The residents are facing “homelessness”, and there “should be no forced evictions”, it stated.
The letter has come in the backdrop of the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) ongoing drive to temporarily shift the colony’s residents to a transit camp, until its in-situ redevelopment.
Jain further said the residents should be engaged in a dialogue to allay their fears. “The unfortunate fact is that the residents are being forced to sign eviction slips. Power and water connections are being cut off and residents are surrounded by armed personnel,” he wrote to Naidu.
Jain had visited the colony on December 19, the first day of the drive that sparked tension in the area. He said the residents were being told to vacate their houses without prior information as to whether they will be allocated a flat in the redeveloped colony, adding that the project would go on smoothly if dialogue was maintained and legitimate concerns were addressed.
“A survey with the revised cut-off date of January 1, 2015, should be carried out by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), as per the directions of the High Court. The current cut-off followed by DDA in this project — January 31, 2011 — is arbitrary and has caused much confusion among residents,” Jain stated in the letter, dated December 22.
In 2009, DDA had signed an agreement with a private developer for “in-situ slum development” of the colony spread over 5.2 hectares of land. The project proposes to resettle the resident families in multi-storey flats and the remaining land would be used for commercial purposes.