By Nimmi Sukumaran:
With October 2 just over, and the hype given to this day by the ruling party for the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan‘ initiative, committed to making India clean; my experience has involved calling out, on the face of it, the hypocrisy, on the part of the government.
Wazirpur Industrial Area, in New Delhi, is as old as the history of industrialised India. The area is inhabited by workers from various industries here. With more than 2000 families residing here, the area also has the identity of a major vote bank having the potential to decide which party gets to come into power.
Regardless of being important to the government, this place is hardly fit for human dwelling. The drainage system and sanitation system has not been maintained for decades now, clean drinking water is not available for half of the population and health conditions are at an all-time low. These conditions have been continuing for as long as one can remember. Even the thought of a clean and safe environment might sound alien to the inhabitants here.
This place is no different from any slum adjacent to a major city. But what is appalling in this situation is that, this place is located right in the heart of Delhi, at a distance of just 14.4 km from Vidhan Sabha, 17.8 km from the University of Delhi and at a distance of 11.2 km from Connaught Place. While the government has successfully and beautifully maintained the aforementioned localities, it has failed to provide basic living conditions to people who are working hard to uphold the backbone of the nation.
Among various other atrocities being carried out on the Dalit Bahujan population of the nation, this adds on to as another right violation. The majority of the population of this area are Dalit Bahujan industrial workers, employed in various industries here. Gross human right violations happen over here right under the nose of the government, but they don’t seem to be bothered by it. Till now there has been no move from the government’s part to improve their living conditions. With one more ‘Gandhi Jayanti’ over, the dire conditions here remains unchanged.
The right to a clean and safe environment is a constitutional mandate under Article 21. The state, under all conditions, is supposed to provide clean, healthy and safe living conditions to its citizens. Regardless of having a huge initiative like the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the inhabitants of this place, fail to get the basic right to life.
While crores of money are being spent on publicising the Swachh Bharat initiative, the least the government could do in the name of these initiatives is to put proper slabs over drainage, cover them and prevent the inhabitants of this area from falling into one them.