Delhi’s Gaddha Colony: Bottomless Hole of Filth, Official Apathy
The empty plots in the area are nothing but a garbage pit since there are no provisions for garbage collection/disposal in the 'unauthorized colonies'.
New Delhi: ‘Gaddha Colony’ sounds as weird as the only ‘road’ leading to the 50 houses in the area. Locally called Gaddha (hole) Colony due to its low-lying location, the lane is part of Sushant Vihar Colony, in northwest Delhi’s Ibrahimpur Extension.
A 40-minute ride from the GTB Nagar Metro Station up to Nathupura and a rickshaw ride of around 10 minutes lead to the narrow lanes of Sushant Vihar, one of the 1,731 unauthorised colonies of Delhi that lack basic amenities.
The settlement, riddled with pits and infested with flies and mosquitos, lacks drainage. Human waste is dumped via narrow, shallow channels dug up along the houses into adjacent or nearest empty plots. The channels overflow during the monsoon, making the settlement more unhygienic. Garbage is dumped in the open and occasionally burned. Most households have a sick member.
This is what the manual drainage system built by the residents themselves looks like, going into the empty plot.
The problems become worse during monsoons—and Gaddha Colony exemplifies it. The lane is accessible through an empty plot’s narrow five-foot-high boundary wall. The residents don’t prefer the other route, which takes much longer and is muddy and puddled during the monsoon.
The residents, mostly migrant mechanics or rickshaw drivers from Uttar Pradesh (UP) or Bihar, regret settling here. “Our village was better. We made a wrong decision settling here,” an auto driver tells Newsclick.
The lane wasn’t always called Gaddha Colony. “It happened a few years back. It is difficult to explain the address to a delivery agent without mentioning Gaddha Colony,” says Meeta.
As mosquitos buzz around her, another resident, Ragini, says, “It is afternoon. Imagine what happens by evening.”
The settlement is part of the Burari Vidhan Sabha constituency. According to the residents, MLA Sanjeev Jha never addressed their problems. The villagers alleged that they twice gave money to people claiming to be from Jha’s office for constructing a metalled road.
Even the area around Sushant Vihar is pathetic. There’s a pile of garbage right behind the school at the entrance of the settlement. The drains outside the school are open and never cleaned.
The only Mohalla Clinic, which is permanently shut and only has a small cabin, is used by vegetable sellers during the evenings.
Kaushik Vihar, another unauthorised colony, is a few kilometres away from Sushant Vihar. There are no roads and drainage in the low-lying lanes. The main road is waterlogged. “I fell and hurt myself while rushing to get medicines for my kids yesterday,” says a woman as she walks cautiously.
Such is the condition of the streets around Sushant Vihar where often riders on two wheelers fall off their vehicles during monsoon.
Ashish, a rickshaw puller who migrated with his family from UP around 15 years ago, is angry and dissatisfied with the Delhi government.
“I remember Arvind Kejriwal saying in 2013 that to clean the filth in politics, one has to step into it,” he says sarcastically referring to the waterlogged road. “He should now step into it to clean it and serve his people,” he says angrily.
“I take off my shoes and socks and carry my children one by one on my shoulders to drop them at the school,” he adds.
The situation is more risky for the blind. Around 250 residents are blind and some are alone, unemployed or abandoned by their families. It is impossible and dangerous to walk on the waterlogged road and alleys without support.
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