Kathputli Colony To Get 'Pucca' Houses By December 2019
Residents of Kathputli Colony will soon be shifted to their new homes as three residential towers are expected to be ready by December 2019. Around 500 families that have been staying at a transit camp at Anand Parbat since April 2018, will be accommodated in these towers in coming months.
The foundation stone for the Kathputli Colony redevelopment project was laid on April 24, 2018. Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who attended the event along with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, said that the residents would have proper houses by February 2019, but the deadline was pushed to 2020 because of land dispute and severed electricity connection.
Time and again, the Delhi High Court (HC) had pointed out that the demolition drive at the Kathputli Colony had caused an irreparable loss to the families, who were displaced and moved to transit camps. The matter goes back to October 31, 2017, when after seven years of struggle the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) bulldozed hundreds of homes in the area to provide land to Raheja Developers for redeveloping prime land parcel under Delhi's first in-site rehabilitation programme.
Let us know more about the Kathputli Colony.
Where is Kathputli Colony? Why is it so important?
The Kathputli Colony lies in the up-market neighbourhood of the Naraina Industrial Area, Kirti Nagar, Shadipur and Patel Nagar. The area is a prime land parcel of 14 acres inhabited by street performers, puppeteers, dancers, magicians, etc. The colony was home to over 2,800 families, and was known as the world's largest community of street performers. The area is now a prominent real estate hub as it surrounds some of the most popular property markets of Mayapuri and Naraina.
What is the redevelopment plan?
It was in 2009 when the Delhi government planned the redevelopment scheme for the colony on a public-private partnership basis. The contract was awarded to Raheja Developers to build 2,800 flats of 350 square foot (sqft) on five hectare land to accommodate existing residents. The remaining land parcel will be used by the developer to construct commercial and residential complexes to fund the entire project. According to the plan, only those families would be eligible for the allotments which have verifiable identification. This has remained a larger cause of concern as most of the families here do not have one as the site was one of the Jhuggi-Jhopri (JJ) clusters and not a permanent settlement.
As per an agreement, for the benefit of the residents and promote their artistic skills, facilities like a heritage or exhibition museum, Kaushal Kala Vikas Kendra and a multipurpose hall will be built.
Meanwhile, the families have to be shifted in the transit camp at Anand Parbat which was seven-km away from the redevelopment site. The families objected to this as they complained that the transit camp did not fit their requirements and was far from their workplace, schools and would not find any employment in the surrounding areas. The poor amenities and lack of basic facilities brought many non-profit bodies in the picture which motivated the campaign against the DDA of favouring the private developer to bring in the luxury flats and ignoring the apathy of the Kathputli colony residents.
The past of Kathputli Colony
After several notices, deadlines and warnings, the DDA finally flattened 400 homes in the colony in October 2017. While the residents complained that there was no prior notice from the agency about the eviction exercise, onlookers also said that few residents were lathi-charged as they didn't get time to collect their valuables.
A Bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told the authorities that if a demolition drive was done like that at a crucial time when students' exams were approaching in the future, the court would take stringent action.
The court has also ordered the Delhi government to provide for an adequate and efficacious public transportation facility to people who had been moved to the flats at Narela to commute to the Shadipur Depot so that they could reach to their workplace.
The Bench also directed the DDA that people who had to be allotted alternative flats be given units in Kathputli Colony only and they be informed about it by specific letters.
Delhi High Court had also ordered DDA to erect a boundary wall around the Kathputli Colony to prevent unauthorised occupancy and encroachment of the vacant area.