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How do you plan to accommodate migrants, Mr Chidambaram?

First Post New Dehli - January 25, 2012. "It is courage which makes Shabnam, 49, carry on with her life at Lal Bagh area in East Delhi. Bulldozers have razed her shanty, thrice, in the last eight years. On all three occasions, she claims, the occupants of 200 odd slums were given two hours to evict. The first demolition taught her a lesson. She never made a pukka structure again. Her shanty, around five feet in height, is made of straw, tin, raxene and asbestos."

"The thought of relocating has never occurred to her though.

“I have been living here for 22 years now. All my kids were born here,” said the mother of six.

Three decades ago, Shabnam’s husband Shakeel left his Aligarh home for Delhi in search of a job. And when Shabnam, a native of Etah district in Uttar Pradesh, married him, she moved to live in a slum for the first time in her life.

The slums — each unit, accommodating four to ten people — are sandwiched between pillars of a flyover and a metro station, both symbolising India’s eight percent growth story. The shanty town appears to be a footprint of the development the national capital has been witnessing since independence.

On another side of the shanties, is a heap of garbage where people go to attend nature’s call. It also sometimes serves as a playground for the slum’s children, when they are unable to play on the adjacent road.

Our home minister has a vision — that 85 percent of us should be living in cities.

A little less than four years ago, when Mr Chidambaram was asked by Tehelka about his vision to eradicate poverty, he had said, “My vision of a poverty-free India will be an India where a vast majority, something like 85 percent, will eventually live in cities. Not megalopolises but cities.”

He explained his reasoning to Tehelka, thus, “In an urban environment it is easier and more efficient to provide water, electricity, education, roads, entertainment and security rather than in 6,00,000 villages.”"

[...] Read the full story on First Post, New Dehli


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