New Delhi: Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishraon Wednesday asserted that the Yamuna river will be cleaned within the next three years.
While conducting a boat-inspection at Yamuna, Mishra claimed, “The Yamuna river which has now been reduced to a dark grey-coloured lifeless river, will be cleaned thoroughly within the next three years.”
He said, “The oxygen level in the river has also gone way below the required. We’ll make the river so clean that people will be able to bathe in it. Earlier their was a lack of political will to clean the river, but now we will make Yamuna’s cleaning a public movement.”
During the boat-ride for inspection from Wazirabad barrage to the ITO barrage, he was accompanied by officials of various departments such as Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Pollution Control Committee
“During this fact-finding session, I saw solid waste, dirty water and other pollutants being thrown into the river. This is the first time when somebody from the government has inspected the Yamuna. The changes will be visible within six months,” Mishra added.
The road leading to Kathputli Colony is now populated with tv sets, air coolers, brooms, buckets, chairs and clothes stacked in a messy manner that previously filled the over 500 houses that were razed by the DDA authorities.
New Delhi, November 3, 2017 : On an ideal evening, one would have found newly made dolls resting on large beds on the terraces here, artists rehearsing to the beats of the dhol, and freshly carved wooden artifacts decorated along the walls as the smell of fresh paint would fill a densely populated neighborhood.
Welcome to Kathputli Colony – the hub of artists who perform at international events and travel across sees with diplomats; the ambassadors of traditional Indian art forms. The place, brimming with the rustic charm of the rich Indian arts, has been home to the world’s largest community of street performers- they have been a family of over 3,500 artists.
Kathputli Colony, which translates to ‘puppet’, brings together a myriad of craftspeople and performing artists – magicians, artists, puppeteers, acrobats, dancers, snake charmers, and singers.
This neighborhood now, however, is a victim of urbanization.
A walk into West Delhi’s Kathputli Colony on any normal day would have exposed you to the myriad of colors and art forms brimming in the neighborhood. But on October 31, you would have only found four backhoe loaders (diggers) bringing several houses down to rubble, as the residents stood as spectators or scouted for belongings before their house was completely shattered. Fallen electricity poles and sewage water now lined the streets that were previously populated with newly made puppets as demolitions by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials were carried out with full force.
Ten months after the DDA had started demolishing houses at the Kathputli Colony for a redevelopment project aimed at providing concrete settlement to the artists, more people were forcibly evicted from their houses on October 31.
The in-situ redevelopment project at Kathputli Colony had been announced in 2009 under a public private partnership between the DDA and Raheja Developers Limited.
The residents of the colony had stood united against the demolitions; however, the DDA has finally succeeded in evicting these artists from their settlement.
Kathputli Colony Redevelopment Plan
The redevelopment project is a partnership between the DDA and Raheja Developers Limited, a real estate firm, under which flats have been stipulated to be built in place of the slums at Kathputli Colony.
For the construction period, the residents of the slum are to be shifted to makeshift arrangements made at a camp in Anand Parbat and Narela.
As per the plan, the residents will be able to shift to the flats after they are ready within a period of two years.
According to official reports, this project is touted to be the first step towards building and ensuring a slum-free Delhi.
According to a press statement released by the DDA, it was revealed that the demolition activities are being carried out in compliance with the High Court’s orders. It was also revealed that the DDA is shifting residents of the colony to the transit camps in Anand Parbat and Pocket G-7, G-8, Narela, as per the orders of the High Court. “Accordingly, arrangements have been made by DDA to provide transportation to transit camp at Anand Parbat, and Narela; ambulance for medical care and ample supply of food and drinking water at all the three sites,” the statement read.
A Look At The Reality
Previously brimming with colors and talent, the Kathputli Colony now stands deserted amid rubble. Outside broken houses and closed shutters of shops that remain, sit people surrounded by furniture, utensils, trunks and mattresses.
The road leading to Kathputli Colony is now populated with tv sets, air coolers, brooms, buckets, chairs and clothes stacked in a messy manner that previously filled the nearly 500 houses that were razed by the DDA authorities.
Along them stand displaced artists and their families, which include children as young as newborns, who have taken shelter on the roads and under the Shadipur Depot flyover.
Just ahead of the ‘wedding season’, when these street performers earn the maximum throughout the year, the demolition drive has not only uprooted their houses, it has also snatched potential livelihood opportunities from these artists.
The residents have been asked to relocate to Narela, an industrial area at a distance of 30 kms from the Kathputli Colony, where these artists are not hopeful to find any alternate opportunities. Additionally, travelling 30 kms back to West Delhi will not be affordable, which has further dampened their spirits.
1. In 2014, when reports of demolitions first surfaced, DDA Vice-chairman Bavinder Kumar was quoted as saying in a report by The Indian Express that no force would be used to relocate the residents of the Kathputli Colony to the makeshift arrangement in Anand Parbat. The same argument was cited preceding the demolition drive on October 31.
However, DDA’s action was protested by local residents and activists, which resulted in police using force. Consequently, reports of a lathi-charge by the police were soon to surface immediately following the beginning of the drive around noon on October 31. Additionally, the slum area was also tear-gassed.
According to multiple reports, Annie Raja (secretary) and Philomina John (general secretary (Delhi)) of the National Federation of Indian Women backed by CPI, were also injured during the drive. Philomina Johan, aged 77, who fractured her leg due to coarse action by the police, told The Wire that the police force was primarily male.
The two were later admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.
There are also reports of several people inhaling the tear gas, with reports of the death of a toddler upon gas inhalation published by The Telegraph among others.
According to DCP (Central Delhi) Mandeep Singh Randhawa, “mild force involving tear gas was used during the demolition process.”
The officer added that the locals pelted stones at the officers which left nine police personnel injured.
2.The DDA authorities maintained that regular announcements were being made through loud speakers about the demolition drive. Further, they asserted that a notice for eviction had been officially issued three months ago.
However, as per the DDA website, the most recent official notice is dated December 22, 2016.
The displaced artists of Kathputli Colony have already become kathputlis (puppets) at the hands of DDA as questions on their future looms large.
These loopholes in the demolition drive further shed light on the larger abnormalities in the issue –
Are the transit camps at Anand Parbat and Narela sufficient to accommodate all residents of Kathputli Colony?
Just ahead of winters, how safe will be the makeshift arrangement being provided to residents?
How does the DDA or the government plan to provide livelihood to the displaced artists?
Will the proposed EWS flats be ready in time?
What will be the procedure to allot the flats to the artists?
Will the displaced Kathputli Colony residents be able to afford the flats made under the PPP?
As these questions continue to haunt the minds of the displaced Kathputli Colony residents, they continue to struggle alongside roads and under flyovers in West Delhi.
So what was this birthday surprize? Well, Kapil Mishra had dedicated a song to Arvind Kejriwal. Titled ‘AK Teri Kursi Gol’, the song is actually a parody. It questions Arvind Kejriwal’s faith in himself and takes a blunt dig at Satyendra Kumar Jain, Delhi’s cabinet minister.
The song is composed along the lines of RJ Malishka’s viral song ‘Sonu’. The video features regular Delhi citizens collectively asking questions to the CM in a fun way.
The song was released at 3 PM with the caption ‘Birthday Surprise for you Arvind Kejriwal. Soon all Delhi will be singing this for you. Enjoy!’
The video, at the time of writing, has more than 3,000 retweets and more than 4,000 likes on Twitter. On Youtube, the video has earned more than 47,000 views.
The song questions various issues. It points out the poor quality of roads and infrastructure, the lack of proper healthcare, and the fact that the CM has been missing from the Legislative Assembly meetings.
Further, it urges Arvind Kejriwal to say something on the accusations placed on him, and concludes with awaring Kejriwal that the youth, elders, women, autowallas and everyone else has figured out what his government is about, and that they will soon be changing that.
The song comes as part of Kapil Mishra’s pledge of ‘100 Days of Surgical Strike Against Corrupt Kejriwal’.
– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394
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Arvind Kejriwal was missing from the session’s last day as the Assembly met
The sacked Minister Kapil Mishra questioned Kejriwal’s absence and accused the CM of “bunking off”
As the house met, Mishra stood with a banner that said “Kejriwal Missing, Come to the House”
August 11, 2017: Sacked Delhi Minister, Kapil Mishra has accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of ‘Bunking off” House proceedings. As the house met for the last day of the session, Kejriwal was absent in the meeting.
Kapil Mishra raised this issue and as a result was marshaled out of the assembly.
According to the PTI report, Mishra came to the meeting of the session with a banner that stated, “Kejriwal Missing, Come to the House.”
However, Kapil Mishra’s act was deemed against the rules of the House by speaker Ram Niwas Goel, after which he called in the Marshalls to walk Mishra out. He further ordered that Mishra was banned from attending the House meet for the rest of the day.
While outside, Mishra told the reporters, “Chief Minister Kejriwal has not attended a single sitting of the House over the last four days. I sought to know why and was Marshalled out. He bunked off the entire session.”
The Kejriwal-Mishra conflict began when the latter was sacked as an AAP Minister. After this incident, Mishra had made allegations against AAP Minister Satyendra Jain.
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394