Slum Bombay: Interviews with Slum Dwellers at Bhomiheen Camp, Govindpuri (last bit) and at Ekta Nagar, (Sardar Parel Ekta Camp), RK Puram (Delhi 15)
Director: Ralli Jacob, Rafeeq Ellias, P.K. Das; Cinematographer: Rafeeq Ellias
Duration: 00:22:09; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 34.029; Saturation: 0.259; Lightness: 0.076; Volume: 0.066; Cuts per Minute: 3.430; Words per Minute: 76.686
Sambhaji Bhagat (identifying himself as Vijay Kamble conducts group discussions with the residents of Bhomiheen Camp and Sardar Patel Ekta CAMP, Delhi.
- Interview with slum dwellers in Delhi about housing provided by DDA
sd1: I've completed class 10 and gone to class 11. My biggest problem is that I'm not able to study at home. Many kids here are about to give their board exams - I just gave mine, with a lot of trouble. I have my parents and 2 sisters at home. Its too tiny a house to be able to study there. There's noise and commotion everywhere.
sd1: I wish for better and bigger living conditions, to improve our quality of life. And also so kids here can study well and without trouble for their board exams.
Q: In the new house that you'll get, do you think you'd be able to study on the terrace?
sd1: No. Because this new place appears even smaller than our current living space to me. So I don't think my friends and I would be able to study here comfortably.
sd1: If this continues we will only get deeper and deeper entrenched in poverty. And our state will progressively get worse.
Q: As youth we also have other needs, like say meeting every evening to play volleyball, or other games. These things are also necessary for a good life.
sd1: Yes they are, but...
Q: What about space for those things? And what's not good about this park built here at Awas?
sd1: Government has made parks yes. But they are covered in such tall weeds that... just day before yesterday we spotted a snake there.
sd1: The government makes amenities, sure, but then does nothing to maintain it thereafter. They come, do their thing, and disappear.
Q: What would you like to say?
sd2: ...about the house only...
Q: Just for the sake of saying something don't oppose them. Only speak your truth.
sd2: No no, not opposing.
Q: You need to speak about the building they've built for your benefit - is it good or bad?
sd2: But that's exactly what I'm saying.
Q: Okay, what are you saying?
sd2: On that I want to say that whatever the government has done is good. But, its somewhat outside of our problem. Why? - Doors are facing each other, leaving no room for a bed. If there are 4 families in a home, they just cannot live.
sd2: Secondly, neighbours are so close. As in there's no space to lay out a bed or to sit outside the house. There's only one path through the house. I have my sister and a daughter too, other families too... This just won't work for us. Nor will we be able to earn.
sd2: My request to you and to the government that give us (homes) anywhere... like close to where we work, but they should be (?) (santar se)
Q: But the government says they're giving you more space in this.
sd2: This isn't bigger, sir. If one guest arrives we have nowhere to seat him/her.
Q: How much space do you have now?
sd2: Me? I have a shanty... at least 12 'hands'. It is 8 feet wide, 4 beds fit there. We can accommodate guests as well as children in there.
Q: This (new) house is...
sd2: Its not as much as this one.
Q: Its smaller?
sd2: It's small, very small.
Q: How big is it?
Q: Then it is bigger.
sd2: That's why its okay if we're given smaller rooms, but they must be from the centre(?), so that one's door stays with them(?). ...that's all I request.
Q: Are there people from Bihar too?
sd3: There are people from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana too...
Q: Anyone from south India?
sd3: South India... no... no one. We have people from Bihar, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan...
sd3: I've been here since 1978. I stayed here, made a living, had a shanty. After that in 1983 our slum was demolished. After that some people left, some stayed back. At the time Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. I took everyone along with me over to... Jagmohan was our L.G. then, lieutenant governor. When we spoke with him he said - "there's no space to give at the moment. But you can go to some D.D.A (Delhi Development authority?) land and settle there. We'll inform the DDA officials and police to not bother you." We said that's not how we want it...
Q: When was this built - this construction here?
sd3: This one? I'll just tell you... After that we set up camp in Sector 10. We named that camp R.K. Puram Sector 6... Sector 10, Ekta Colony.
sd3: After that we had elections.
sd3: We have a population of 470 here. Of these, 420 plots have already been given to people, the remaining will get their's in some time. When we spoke with the governor he asked us to wait until after the elections. After that the rest of the people will get their homes.
Q: So you've got homes?
sd3: Yes. These houses...
sd3: In 1989... These houses we got from D.D.A. are 10x15. The D.D.A. had one condition - to form a society, then you'll won't be able to sell plots, nor leave them and go.
sd3: The government even gave us 5,000 loan, because it costs about 18-19,000 for one home. Some of our friends put in 5,000 they had, along with that 5,000 plus the money from the house and loan, built and paid for their whole house. There were also many who don't have any money. See those umbrellas(?) out there... they put in 2-3,000 or 8-9,000 and set those up in the middle.
sd3: Our request to the government for the future is that they give at least 5,000 more as loan, so that we can secure and improve our homes for our children's futures too.
Q: This space the government gave - 10x15 - as in they made a plinth. After that you will build your own homes...?
sd3: No sir, this map (plan) is from the D.D.A. but we built it.
Q: Didn't D.D.A. build the houses?
sd3: No. We built the houses from our own money.
Q: So D.D.A. made the plinth. After that you'll built your homes on it.
sd3: Yes. We put in our own money.
Q: This is one way of building homes for the poor and in slums. But we saw another space in Bhoomiheen Camp, where they're building pakka
houses and giving. So both are possible, here you have built your own, there the government has built. There's some pros and cons there. What's been your experience of building in this way as you've done here?
Q: What are the good points, and the bad point of building in this way?
sd3: This is quite alright for us, whether D.D.A. gives or government gives - it's fine. But this dhandlebaazi
(?) they've trapped us in is a bother. For one, the 30 rs per month is a bit much for us to pay. Second problem we have is... this isn't our land, many of us go home to our villages for a couple months at a time. Then these people send us notices demanding payment or else our house will be locked.
Q: What would you prefer this way of building homes - that land is given to you and you build?
Q: ...Or that government builds it their own way.
sd3: No no. We should just be given land, we can pay rent to D.D.A. Whether we decide to build an extra floor or not depends on our economic constraints.
Q: A good thing we observed was that those with less money don't build, but as their conditions improve they'll continue to build and improve the house... with a little more money...
sd3: Yes... as I was saying earlier, government gave a loan of 5,000. Those who had money put in 10-15,000 and built a house. But some poor people have no money.
Q: In some places the government has designed, built and given 18 sq mt area (180 sq ft) flats in a building. Would you prefer that? Or do you prefer begin given the land and then you... you must have seen some such...
Q: Bhoomiheen Camp, the government has built there...
sd4: No sir I haven't been there and seen it. Here we just want the land to be given to us, by D.D.A. or the government, we can build ourselves. That would work out the best for us.
Q: This cultural relationship you have with (?) - how is this plan according to that?
sd5: The plan itself is very good and implemented well. But some officers who gave this to us kept backing off, roughing us up (dhandlebaazi), as Pradhan was saying. We too had some shortcomings. On paper we were a united society but in practice we couldn't achieve this unity, we couldn't grow, or else by now all outcomes would've been uniform. In the beginning they told us they'd provide 10,000 loan so that house and amenities - water, electricity - are paid for and complete...
Q: This organisation Asha, what work are they doing in this neighbourhood? ...What amenities do they provide?
sd3: We have no connection with Asha. Nor did we know what its connection with D.D.A. is. It was our governor... what's his name...Ramesh Bhandari - we spoke to him, and an officer there, Manjeet Singh. He then told us about Asha and their work, they would build dispensaries, it would help our children, offices would be built - that they would look after us...
sd3: So about this... well... Kiran has done a good job overall, but some... we have been wronged. These rules they've set up now - do this, do that, pay 30 rs a month... first they set it at 50 rs a month, we paid for 3 months but after that we told them we couldn't afford to kep paying 50 rs...
Q: Why were they asking for money?
sd3: They claimed it was licence, cleaning personnel, electricity bills,... till date we haven't got electricity in our homes. Now we've told them until electricity metres aren't installed in our homes we won't pay them a rupee.
Q: Haven't you all set up a society here as yet?
sd3: We haven't formed a society of our own here.
Q: Asha runs this society?
sd3: No sir. Our society was formed by... Dr. Kiran... something called Housing Group society. We haven't gone there as yet though. First they said the society would be made through our neighbourhood, the money would be put in our names. One of our...