Water for many is the biggest problem in Savda Ghevra. Although many think the water situation isn’t as bad as they had experienced in their previous slums. There are wells with hand pumps spread out around the colony but the water is hard and not potable. Drinking water is delivered by water truck on a daily basis. The delivery times are not regular and people queue for a long time with jerry cans and buckets. I talked with some people and they seemed to think that people fight less over the water these days as the community has made some ‘rules’ for lining up in 2 lines and waiting in turn however this didn’t appear to b e the case when i saw the water truck arrive. It was a free-for-all. Some ladies are unable to maintain a fixed job as they need to get the water and as a result a communal weaving livelihood programme has been halted. Many men are out at work (apparently 50% are employed) so can’t help with the water – it leaves the young children to help out. And they should be in school.
I made my first field visit to Savda Ghevra and one of the local NGOs called CURE had set up an informal chat with a dozen youth. The photos below are taken from outside their small house come office in which 12 of us squeezed onto the floor. They were all expecting wonderful advice from me on Disaster Management – not quite sure who they thought I was but we had a great 1.5hr chat and discussion on youth leadership and the (disaster) risks of living in Savda. The well provides water for washing clothes and washing but is not suitable for drinking. The drains were blocked with rubbish and the stagnant water was frightening pink hue. Electricity is available for every house and even the bamboo and mat shacks have a meter.
I was invited to the NW Delhi Disaster Management Authority office to meet with 2 youth leaders. Both had previously been recognised for their youth work and awarded ‘youth of the year’. They are no longer considered ‘youth’ although many statistics count those under 40 as youth. I’m alright for another few years then! The interviews lasted for 2 hours with wonderful interpretation from Sulakshana. We stopped for a chai and samosa break and continued until lunch. The two office staff shared their lunch with me as I hadn’t bought anything with me. I really didn’t think I’d still be there at lunch time!
One of the biggest risks in the slums of Delhi is fire. These pictures are from Mr. Rai who I interviewed yesterday. A rubber factory had gone up in flames and he called the fire brigade. Apparently no-one was killed but I think many would have lost their homes located nearby.
Savda Ghevra is currently home to about 7,000 families. These families have been evicted from previous ‘unauthorised’ slums which developed over the years. One lady’s grandma had lived there for 45years – this is how they were moved (see video):
This 7min video shows the destruction of one of the slums in Delhi. A community developed over decades knocked to the ground in days. Some of these people have been ‘resettled’ to Savda Ghevra.
I have decided to conduct my research in a ‘Resettlement Colony’ called Savda Ghevra. This is one of a number of resettlement colonies in Delhi and the first families were relocated here 3 years ago. It is on the outskirts of Delhi and far away from where most families had been living prior to their eviction. More will follow about Savda Ghevra shortly.
I take the bus to the office in the morning. The bus stop is a ten minute walk over a river-come open sewer which attacks all your senses as you’re still trying to adjust to the searing morning heat. I just hope that the wind is blowing away from the road to take the smells elsewhere.
It’s a fight to get on the bus in the morning as everyone jostles and elbows their way on. The first morning I let everyone go first but barely managed to jump and hang on as the bus pulled away. I now join the melee and have got used to the running jump when the bus barely comes to a halt. It’s 5rupees (10p) for the 20min journey to the office.
The bus pulls over to spit the people out and I cross the road between the motorbikes and autorickshaws. I cross over a small rubbish dump and a market where men are selling vegetables everyday.