Madanpur Khadar JJ Colony
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Madanpur Khadar JJ Colony
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Madanpur Khadar JJ Colony is a slum resettlement colony and one of the many ‘jhuggi-jhopri’ (EN: shanty-hut) colonies, in the South-Eastern region of New Delhi. It is located in close proximity to Sarita Vihar and Kalindi Kunj, some 8 km from the border to Haryana. It was created in 2004 when slum dwellers from across Delhi were forcefully evicted and relocated to the urban peripheries. Since its formation the community has undergone massive changes in structural, political, economic and social aspects of their life. The transformation of Khadar is underscored by several challenges ranging from the provision of basic amenities to the condition of women's safety and mobilities.
"Khadar" refers to the black loamy soil found in this region; as part of the low-lying areas of fertile floodplains. Since most of the land is on the slopes of canals running through the colony, local building regulations prohibit the construction of houses higher than three floors. For over 100 years, a village called Madanpur Khadar has existed in this place till new waves of migrants in the 1970's and 1980's going to Delhi in search of jobs and working in the industries and factories in Delhi's urban peripheries began to change its landscape.
In 2000, a landmark judgment was passed by the Indian Supreme Court. During the summing up of a Public Interest Litigation brought by a ‘concerned citizen’, the judge labeled slum dwellers as ‘pickpockets’, ‘encroachers’ and ‘trespassers’. Widely known as the Almitra Patel case, this ruling overturned the earlier political patronage of slums that had enabled its residents to live and flourish in the city even though the land they lived on was not formally owned by them. As Datta (2012) writes, "While the Indian courts till 1980s had followed an implicit understanding that access to affordable shelter and infrastructure services was a basic human right, this ruling set the trend for interpreting squatting as a criminal offense in most regional states of India". Shortly after, Madanpur Khadar area was assigned by the Government of India as a relocation site for evictees from various slums across Delhi.
The name JJ Colony is a derivative of "jhuggi-jhopri" a colloquial name for unauthorised slums. Madanpur Khadar JJ Colony was formed after the Supreme Court ruling in 2000 when the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) acquired land from the village of Madanpur Khadar, subdivided it into plots and sold it on a lease (Rs7000 for 22sqm plots and Rs 5000 for 12sqm plots) to thousands of families who were evicted and relocated from slums across Delhi. The eligibility for relocation was set as those slum dwellers holding ration cards by 31 January 1990. Later, it was modified to make those holding ration cards up to 31 December 1998 eligible to plots of 12.5 square meters. Over four years, people from Nehru Place, Kalkaji Mandir, Raj Nagar, R K Puram, Nizamuddin, Green Park, Alaknanda, and ITO were relocated to the JJ colony under extremely challenging and difficult conditions. Although its residents are now legal leaseholders of their plots, it was named as a JJ Colony since they were erstwhile slum dwellers from Delhi.
A report by Delhi Janwadi Adhikar Manch in 2001 highlighted the challenges that newly evicted slum dwellers faced when resettled in Madanpur Khadar JJ Colony. The land was mainly agricultural which had not been developed or serviced with basic infrastructure connections, which was in poor condition in the colony. Although most residents moved to the Colony around 2000, they did not receive electricity connections till 2004. There was no direct sewage connection and most people had to defecate in the open. Despite the construction of public toilets later, these are still poorly maintained and unused. Other infrastructures such as water and sanitation were also poor at the time of settlement. Water supply was unpredictable and residents often had to rely on tankers or hand pumps. Drainage was via uncovered channels along the internal roads.
Madanpur Khadar is approached by a main road which is lined by scrap dealers on both sides. This road crosses the Yamuna canal and enters the resettlement colony. Across the canal is agricultural land owned by the residents of Madanpur Khadar village.
As one crosses the canal, Bablu Dairy is located on the left and sells buffalo and cow milk. Adjacent to it is the only government alcohol shop in the area.
The first square on entering the colony is known as Samosa Chowk, followed by Nirman Chowk, after which is Jalebi Chowk and Sri Ram Chowk, which then leads on to the road to Kalindi Kunj. Shops around the Nirman chowk sells building material, which is between Jalebi chowk and Samosa chowk.
While there are grocery and vegetable shops on each block, the main markets are the vegetable market near Jalebi Chowk and the Saturday market (Shani bazaar), which is set up near the Shani mandir (temple). The vegetable market opens daily. Jalebi chowk and the adjacent market is the most popular destination for evening snacks and vegetables, which runs on a daily basis; it also has a SBI, Canara Bank and ICICI ATMs.
There are 8 blocks in total in the resettlement colony, namely A1, A2, B1, B2, C block, D block, A pocket and Phase 3. In both A pocket and B2, the constructions are a bit beneath the land level.
Different kinds of private transport operate out of the colony. E-rickshaws take people from here to the two nearest metro stations- Sarita Vihar on the Violet Line and Kalindi Kunj on the Magenta Line. Apart from this, private mini buses and vans ply their trade through Jasola-Okhla-Harkesh Nagar to Nehru Place and back. In spite of being one of the biggest resettlement colonies, with lakhs of workers going outside to work, there is a complete absence of the Delhi Transport Corporation as no buses run along these routes, thus making the residents entirely dependent on private mini buses and now, more recently, the Delhi Metro.
Education and employment
There are 6 government schools in the JJ colony, and about 15 private schools. Prior to the opening of these schools, the children from the resettlement colony attended the Sarita Vihar Government School.
Many women from here are employed as domestic workers in nearby flats/homes of Sarita Vihar and Kalindi Kunj, while younger women and men are mostly employed in the service sector by hotels and call centers. Men work mostly as daily wage workers.
Current residents of Khadar are first or second generation migrants from regional states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan. The population is estimated around 15,000 people, and the majority of the population are Hindus. Residents are primarily engaged in low-wage jobs as peons, drivers, domestic workers, security guards, rag pickers, vendors, and construction, industrial and commercial workers. Women specifically work as domestic workers, factory workers, taxi drivers, street hawkers and NGO workers.
Hindi is the local language.
Physical and Social infrastructure
Madanpur Khadar brings out the stark contrast in the city's planning and infrastructure, encapsulated succinctly in an article in a leading national daily, which stated, "Madanpur Khadar – sandwiched between the blue-glass fronted corporate offices and spanking new malls of Sarita Vihar, adjoining the imposing Apollo Hospital – does not have a primary health centre."
The Urban Services Programme for resettlement colonies mandates that Pay and Use toilets be made available at the ratio of 1 seat per 10 families, however, the number of public toilets in the entire locality range from about 15-20. The number of public toilets in each block depends upon the size of the block. B1 has 5 toilets whereas A1 has 3 and B2 has 2 etc. The toilets also only operate on specific times, from 6-11am in the mornings and 4-8pm at night. Safe and free drinking water is difficult to find in this colony as the supply water is non-potable and hard. This has led to a growing water-distilling business in the region which provides 20 liters for Rs.10/- on average.
The nearby Badarpur Thermal Power Station in Mathura Road creates long term health risks of exposure to fly ash and dust particles. However, there are no primary health centres, only two government dispensaries as well as many private clinics, though only one government dispensary is functional. Health remains a major area of concern, with diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid and respiratory diseases common among children. According to a study by Delhi Forces Neev, 2 per cent of the children in Madanpur Khadar were severely malnourished as of 2010. For any major illnesses, the residents have to travel more than 15 km to AIIMS or Safdarjung Hospital.
The lack of access to basic civic amenities and essential services is a problem for all, but disproportionately affects women and girls in such situations. As a Guardian article recently reported "Faced with prohibitive costs of unregulated private transport, fear of harassment by men on long journeys and few employment opportunities in their new settlement, they have little choice but to remain at home". The challenges of mobility for women is further exacerbated by high incidences of gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc. NGOs such as Jagori have worked in this settlement raising awareness about Violence Against Women (VAW) since 2004.
There are close to 40 anganwadis (creches) in the JJ colony. While most of them are run by the government, some of them were sub-contracted to NGO's briefly. The further operational status of these remains undetermined.
There are many NGO's currently working in Madanpur Khadar, such as [world vision India, [Jagori]], Agragrami India, Itasha Society, Prayatan, Casp Delhi. They work on issues such as health, education, women's empowerment, craft making, vocational training and placements. Most of these organisations focus on women's and children's rights.
- The Illegal City.
- Datta, Ayona (2016-03-03). The Illegal City: Space, Law and Gender in a Delhi Squatter Settlement. Routledge. ISBN 9781317027942.
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