After eight long years of barb exchange between government officials, various NGOs and slum dweller, the Kathputli Colony has finally been demolished and all 2800 families have been either rehabilitated or accommodated in various transit camps and EWS flats meant for slum residents. The DDA officials and the private builder handling the Kathputli Colony affairs have geared up to hand over the EWS flats to slum residents in next two years. But, the DDA can’t sit idle as it has to eradicate all 675 identified slums in Delhi by 2022 because under Housing for All, they need to build one EWS flat for each house hold living in slums and at the same time they will have to address the dream home requirement of the Middle Class and Higher Class too.
Asit Manohar talks to Jai Prakash Agrawal, Principal Commissioner — Land Disposal and Housing, DDA and fishes out its road map for slum free Delhi and housing for all. Edited excerpts:
... DDA is planning to construct 3080 EWS flats in Kathputli colony meant for the slum dwellwers. What would DDA do with additional inventories as 600 families have already opted for ready to shift EWS flats in Narela?
As per the last census, Delhi has total 675 slums and Kathputli Colony is just one of them. Our target is to make Delhi slum free and provide home to each household by 2022 under the Housing for All and Pradhan Mantra Aawas Yojna (PMAY). Hence, we need to address other slums on an urgent basis and these additional inventories would help us fasten the rehabilitation work in other slum clusters.
But, the Delhi High Court has slammed DDA for demolition drive in Kathputli Colony?
The DDA went for demolition as per the court ruling after waiting for more than eight years since 2009. The Delhi High Court didn’t ask us to stop the demolition as it was their order which we followed. And most importantly, section 10 of the DUSIB Act empowers government agencies to act in such cases even when they don’t have the consent of the beneficiaries for whom this whole act is being taken. So, under the section 10 of DUSIB, for slum demolition, DDA doesn’t require consent of the slum dwellers but we didn’t take advantage of this DUSIB Act and waited for the Delhi High Court ruling. We went for demolition only when the Delhi High Court passed the order for demolition.
You said DDA would be replicating this Kathputli Colony experience in addressing other slums in Delhi. Can you elaborate DDA’s plans in regard to slum eradication in Delhi?
As I said earlier, whole Delhi has 675 slums out of which 475 are those which exist either on DDA or on the central government land. So, out of 675 slums in Delhi, DDA can address 475 only. Rest 200 slums fall either under the Delhi government or its agencies.
The DDA has already been working on slum free Delhi as we are constructing around 3035 EWS flats in Kalkaji and 1675 EWS Flats in Ashok Vihar. Kalkaji flats would be handed over to the slum dwellers by June 2018 while Ashok Vihar flats will be ready for possession by June 2019.
When it’s difficult for finding land for transit camps, how would you find land for accommodations for 475 slums?
You are right! Land constraint is our major limitation in making Delhi slum free. Right now, we need additional 10,000 acres of land for the EWS flats required for total slums that I mentioned earlier. Our job becomes further difficult when we need to find out land in the vicinity of the slums we are going to address as residents have their bread and butter in the vicinity of around 5 km radius and they can’t afford to go beyond a certain distance from their existing dwelling.