Since the late 1980s the Government of Delhi has initiated a surge of demolitions and forced evictions under the justification of “slum up-gradation” and “city beautification.” However, this crusade is taking place at an alarmingly high cost to Delhi’s residents; thousands of whom have lost their houses and property and been rendered homeless. These losses are a result of massive eviction drives central to the Delhi Government’s aspiration to develop a “world class city”; a city which sadly has no place for the urban poor.
For example, in the run up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the Government displaced over 200,000 persons by demolishing entire settlements, clearing out large areas, and deporting slum dwellers and homeless citizens away from the city centre and thus from the sight of international media and foreign visitors.Meanwhile resettlement colonies, when and if provided, boast grossly inadequate conditions with no sewage systems, electricity, or garbage collection and located unrealistic distances from public services such as hospitals and schools.
Factors such as residents’ access to health facilities, schools, public transport and workplace are patently disregarded. Despite existing policies and regulations, coupled with strong domestic jurisprudence and international law obligations, most evictions take place illegally and rights of the poor are trampled on.