By Ashwin Parulkar on September 24th 2020
About half of Delhi’s homeless shelters operate at full capacity to overcrowded conditions, providing less space than the norm of 50 sq.ft. per resident. This is a planning problem since policymakers have treated critical questions of where shelters should be built, how many residents shelters should accommodate, and how much space to allot for each shelter as separate issues at various times, and independent of the actual demographics that the various shelters in different parts of the city cater to.
This piece focuses on two neighboring, identically-sized porta-cabin shelters in South Delhi’s Nehru Place, which cater to two different groups of homeless people. It juxtaposes narratives of the two sets of residents with an analysis of the official data to reveal why, over the last eighteen months (March 2019-August 2020), one of them was constantly overcrowded and the other was, by official standards, modestly but consistently utilized.
By Manish on September 9th 2020
The Supreme Court of India on 31.08.2020 passed an order, in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) relating to pollution and waste management in Delhi, directing the eviction of “encroachments” – primarily jhuggi-jhopri (JJ) bastis, or slums – on Railway land in the capital. Coming in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the order has been subject to legal criticism and has received wide coverage in the media. In this series of Q&A, we deconstruct what exactly the order says, the extent of the displacement it is likely to cause, the legally prescribed procedure for eviction and relocation, and what would be a fair approach going forward.
By Ashwin Parulkar on July 27th 2020
Through an analysis of shelter and homelessness data from the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board and the Census, this study examines extent of overcrowding in Delhi’s homeless shelters and its implications on the ability of residents in these spaces to socially distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It examines the nature and implications of limited floor space across Delhi’s homeless shelter system to ascertain the extent to which the system’s capacity and coverage problems are rooted in shelter planning and design.
By Asaf Ali Lone on June 19th 2020
Regularising Delhi’s 1639 unauthorised colonies has been a regular issue in Delhi’s assembly elections for many years now. Based on field research carried out in the Uttam Nagar area of west Delhi during the months of January and February 2020, this piece helps to understand what the promise and process of regularisation has involved, and how it has played out for the residents before the Delhi elections of 2020?
Despite electoral promises, the complications inherent in processes of regularisation persist despite fresh legislation. Grounded processes of documentation are required.
This paper analyses the weight of overlapping burdens of precarity on the urban poor through the story of the demolition of an informal settlement and homeless shelter in Delhi.
In this paper, the authors bring a challenging perspective to slum studies in Delhi, India, by contrasting
the attempts at ‘slum-free city planning’ (referring to housing programmes for the urban poor) with the ‘durability’ of certain slum settlements. They examine national and local factors that temper the impact of macro-forces of neoliberalism and globalisation on slum clearance in Delhi, including institutional fragmentation, political networks, and social mobilisation. Based on two settlements selected by the Delhi Development Authority to implement its strategy of slum redevelopment under public-private partnership, we show how space-specific configurations and the interplay of actors may contribute instead to the entrenchment of slums. At the settlement level however, ‘durable’ does not mean permanent. Yet, at the city level, slum rehabilitation in partnership with private developers presents serious limits, questioning the emphasis put on this strategy to provide sustainable housing for the urban poor.