NEW DELHI: Waste management, slums, and air pollution top the priority list of major political issues. However, the villages of Delhi have been ignored by major political parties. Amid all the political noise, village voters have complained about the lack of development work in their area. Highlighting the dispute over ownership of lands in rural Delhi, Paras Tyagi, a resident of Budhela village of west Delhi said that because of the tussle between the AAP-led Delhi government and the BJP-led Centre, the Delhi villagers had not yet received the benefits of the Svamitva, a central sector scheme of Ministry of Panchayat raj.
Under this scheme, the government aimed to establish a clear ownership of property in the rural inhabited area and provide a ‘Record of rights” to village household owners.
While the problem of ownership is persistent in the Pan- Delhi Villages, the Kanjhwala village of North-West Delhi has been facing shrinking water bodies because of illegal encroachment. Haripal Dabbas, a resident of Kanjhwala slammed the government and Municipal authorities stating, “Government had almost made groundwater harvesting compulsory in government offices but they did not pay heed to the illegal encroachment on Delhi’s pond.”
He added that in Kanjhwala, most ponds are converted into dumping yards while they construct parks on others. A few kilometres away from New Delhi, the Darula village of outer west Delhi still lacks basic developments such as proper road connectivity, water supply and basic amenities like Baraat Ghar and a crematorium.
Raj Chauhan, a resident of Darula village, is still upset because he could not perform the last rites of his deceased brother because his village did not have a proper crematorium. Blue drums outside the houses in Darula village are not an unusual scene as people have to store water for a week’s use. Chauhan said that drinking water is still a luxury for them as it arrives once a week in their village.
Ritesh Rana, 41, a resident of Kanjhwala village in outer north Delhi complained about the drainage system, “It’s been more than ten years since the drainage system of our village is clogged. All the dirty water of our village is released into the agricultural fields which indirectly affects the yield of the farmers.”Adding to his woes, Rana said that because of this improper drainage management, the water during intense rains flooded the roads, making it impossible for the villagers to commute. As per the revenue department of the Delhi government, more than 350 villages are located in Delhi. Most of the villages are located on the outskirts of the city, hence they are often ignored by the political parties and did not get media attention, said Paras Tyagi, a local resident.
As all the parties released their manifestos for the upcoming MCD election, major village issues barely get representation. Congress promised to waive the house tax for the village households if they win. As per the revenue department, there are 357 villages in Delhi, around 180 are old urbanised while 104 were declared urban and development areas in 2018 and 49 of them are rural villages.
lying in neglect
357 Total Villages
180 (approx) Old urbanised area
104 Urban & development
Ownership rights -- Svamitva scheme -- not implemented in villages
Shrinking natural resources: Encroachments on ponds and
Deprived of basic facilities such as the crematorium, water supply and community centre