Demolition fear continues to grip Shakur Basti area in Delhi's Chandini Chowk LS constituency

With a diverse demography, Shakur Basti comprises planned areas, regularised colonies, low-income settlements, and slum clusters.
A woman holding her kid stands amid household items at Shakur Basti, where a demolition drive was carried out in a slum, in New Delhi.
A woman holding her kid stands amid household items at Shakur Basti, where a demolition drive was carried out in a slum, in New Delhi.File Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: For nine years, the women of this constituency have lived in fear of their houses being razed by bulldozers at any moment, while a majority of the residents here are always tense about the lack of adequate facilities, including water, washrooms, rehabilitation for those who have lost homes, and better health facilities in the area.

This is Shakurbasti assembly—a sprawling settlement with a population of around 10,000 jhuggis, where the small dwelling units are apprehensive about being evicted by railway authorities, as there are plans to turn the land into permanent shelters.

Located in the North West Delhi district of Delhi, the Shakur Basti assembly seat falls under the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won from all seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi.

The assembly segment, which has had Congress and BJP MLAs represent it for two terms each between 1993 and 2008, went to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 2015 assembly elections. However, it again went to BJP in the next polls.

With a diverse demography, Shakur Basti comprises planned areas, regularised colonies, low-income settlements, and slum clusters. The area also hosts a large population of traders in retail hubs such as Rani Bagh, Harsh Vihar, Lok Vihar, and Jwala Heri.

Among the major concerns of this assembly are the rehabilitation of people who lost homes during demolition and adequate drinking water supply. Better sewage networks and uninterrupted water supply are also issues that Shakurbasti residents want addressed by the new government.

According to data shared by the Election Commission in the 2019 polls, the highest turnout was recorded in Shakur Basti, where the population is a mix of migrants and minorities, along with a few posh pockets such as parts of Paschim Vihar and Rani Bagh.

In 2023, the Congress released a video of Rahul Gandhi visiting the Shakur Basti area and interacting with residents who shared their problems, such as rising prices and the fear of bulldozers razing their homes. Gandhi asked if the demolition drive issue from 2015 has been resolved, to which the women replied that it has been halted for the time being, but they continue to receive notices from time to time.

Rehabilitation, water supply key issues

Among the major concerns of the Shakurbasti assembly are the rehabilitation of people who lost homes during demolition and adequate drinking water supply. Better sewage networks and uninterrupted water supply are also issues that Shakurbasti residents want addressed by the new government.

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