// forwarded without permission (she bites, but i'll survive)

A presentation by those supporting clearance of Pushta
according to law (and opposing the drive that is
underway) IIC Annexe, 6:30 PM, Wednesday 31.03.04

Pushta clearance is progressing briskly. After a gap
of over a month since demolition of over 1000 homes in
Gautampuri-2 on 13.02.04, on 17.03.04 Gautampuri-1 and
Koyla Plot, on 19.03.04 slum near Power House and from
24.03.04 Kanchanpuri slums were demolished - over 5000
homes in just over a week. Notice for next demolition
on 01.04.04 is up in Indra Colony.

Court order, Election Commission clearance,
wholehearted support of public authorities, especially
police, no adverse media, no mainstream political or
civil society protest on any point of law or fact all
convey an impression of righteousness. This
impression, cleverly constructed out of an opinion, is
so incongruous with the war like ground situation that
it cannot be the truth.

The truth about Pushta is better pieced together from
facts. There is no legal Plan for the riverbed and no
legal slum policy and so Pushta clearance bears no
relation to law. Resettlement is illegal and,
assurances to courts notwithstanding, grossly
sub-standard in terms of Delhi Master Plan and
wasteful of public land. The statutory solution to
Delhi's slum problem requires use of 2000 Ha for EWS
plots and misuse of this land for up-market use will
take infrastructure demand beyond capacity.
Authorities have claimed there are about 19000
resettlement plots and, earlier, that there are 75000
families in Pushta and this arithmetic has spawned an
incredibly arbitrary resettlement process violative of
law, policy and court orders. Disregard of court
orders has extended even to the simple matter of
providing buses for children till exams, resulting in
most children resettled losing a year. EC clearance
has done nothing to protect voter convenience and,
with no process for those evicted without resettlement
and court order of option of 500/- down payment being
disregarded, retention of voting right was briefly
predicated upon being able to pay 7000/- after being
considered eligible for resettlement. Subsequent
announcement by EC of voter lists remaining same even
after resettlement make its clearance redundant, save
as endorsement of the scheme requiring Pushta
clearance. The scheme, devoid of basis in legal Plan,
is itself illegal. There are indications that the
display of state capability for unlawful dispossession
of citizens has inspired investor confidence in other
illegal riverbed schemes and absence, or disregard, of
protest has emboldened the state to launch more
willful schemes, involving willful evictions,
elsewhere as well. The problems of riverbed and slums
are poised to become intractable as their statutory
solutions are being jeopardized by unlawful misuse of
public land. Indeed, lawful planned development for
benefit of citizens is poised to be substituted by
schemes to pander to tourists and global market

Far from being the truth, the impression being created
about Pushta is a distortion of reality to the point
of surreality - disregard of law and court being
justified in name of court, infringement of voting
rights being justified in name of EC, a war-like
operation against citizens for pursuits that impair
solutions that the city urgently needs being justified
in name of good governance.

The truth about Pushta is more clearly seen from the
window of engagements (based on facts, not mere
opinion) of those seeking (since 2000) clearance of
Pushta according to law and opposing the unlawful
drive that is underway (ever since it started).

Presentation by: Gita Dewan Verma (Planner), Pushta
citizens (Gautampuri-2, Gautampuri-1, Koyla Plot,
Power House, Kanchanpuri, Indra Colony), Dr Baliga
Trust (support engagements), Project WHY, Mahanagar
Asangathit Mazdur Union and Master Plan Implementation
Support Group (solidarity engagements), alumni of TVB
School of Habitat studies and students / faculty
members from School of Planning and Architecture
(support and synergy engagements)

Coordinator: Aruna Bhowmick (Ph:26165132, eml:
[email protected])