Thousands of residents of Transit Camp, Kalkaji, New Delhi prepare to oppose demolition of their homes.

Residents of Transit Camp, a resettlement colony in Kalkaji, South Delhi, have been warned, through notices put up by the DDA on May 5, 2006, that their houses will be demolished as per High Court orders. They have been warned to move out their possessions latest May 8, so that their homes can be demolished from May 9 to 11. There has been no announcement whatsoever, of how and where they will be resettled. This amounts to a cruel attack on the lives and livelihood of the thousands of people living there.

On the evening of May 5, residents of the colony gathered at the colony’s Ram Leela maidan to express their resolve to resist these illegal demolitions with their lives if need be. Nearly a thousand women, men and youth participated in this Sabha. The meeting was addressed by Bijju Nayak, leader of the Lok Raj Sangathan, and Sucharita, Delhi Convenor of the LRS and a noted women activist of Delhi , apart from several local activists. They emphasised the need to be organised and to rely on peoples own strength, without falling prey to the devious parliamentary games and vote-bank politics of various political parties. The residents decided to set up a ‘Transit Camp Bachao Sangharsh Morcha’, a local committee involving large number of residents, which will lead the struggle, taking joint decisions and keeping the initiative firmly in the hands of the residents. They are also planning various mass actions and demonstrations, in the area as well as in other areas of Delhi , to highlight their struggle.

Transit Camp was originally established in 1985, when people from various slum colonies all over Delhi were resettled there, following the clearing up of their slums by the MCD. Proper papers indicating settlement were allotted to some 1720 families at that time. Originally they were settled there with the view that the government would resettle them soon in an appropriate place. Twenty years have passed and none of this has happened. Over the years, the residents there have been investing their life’s savings in developing the area and a new generation of youth and young people has come up, which knows no other home that this one. Naturally, there is both panic as well as anger among the residents of Transit Camp, at the prospect of having their hopes and dreams devastated in this manner. They have begun to organise to resist the demolition of their homes and their forced eviction.

The High Court decision is based on the idea that in the 1960 master plan of Delhi , the area in which Transit Camp falls lies within green belt. However, it is not the DDA or the Delhi government, which is being penalised, but the people. This is manifestly unjust. The government must either change the master plan to incorporate Transit Camp as a Residential Area or provide alternate accomodation as well as compensation for the destruction of their homes and earnings of over 20 years.

It is of utmost importance that the struggle of the residents of Transit Camp be fully supported by all justice loving people in Delhi and be given wide publicity and media coverage. We appeal to all mass organisations, human rights organisations, women’s organisations, residents’ associations and courageous individuals to come forward and assist in the struggle of the residents of Transit Camp. This will be an important contribution to the struggle of residents of Delhi , against the drive to demolish our dwellings, shut down our businesses and throw us out of our residential places, in the name of ‘Delhi Master Plan 2021’, i.e. in the interests of the biggest monopolies an multinationals.

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