Invisible community's silent protest on NH 24

Residents of NCR's unauthorised colony stage unusual dharna to press for basic amenities

ridhima

Ridhima Kumar | April 9, 2015 | New Delhi




Travelling during office hours on National Highway 24, linking Delhi and the NCR town of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, is a hell-like experience. The traffic moves at a snail’s pace during peak hours. Traffic snarls, 10-15 minute long traffic lights, and stray incidents of road rage greet me every morning as I rush to office. Today, however, as I was chasing time to reach office, I was greeted with an unusual sight at the traffic junction of the Delhi-UP border.

With placards in hands, many people were standing in a symmetric line on the pavement. They were wearing caps of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Amused, I rolled down my window to get a better look. For the first time I thanked god when the light turned red as it offered me an opportunity to click a few pictures of this unusual sight. It seemed like a silent protest against something. After reading their placards I realised that these people are from the Khora Colony demanding civic amenities in their area.

Khora Colony is an unauthorised colony in Uttar Pradesh. It lies just opposite the new and emerging township in Indirapuram. On one side of the NH 24 are tall buildings which boast of fancy club houses and facilities, while on the other side is a neglected and forgotten colony called Khora. This colony serves as a lifeline to most of the posh societies located across the road, as it houses people like maids, drivers, and watchmen without whom an urban Indian house cannot survive. Yet, the people who are our biggest support system are neglected and do not even have basic amenities in their area.

Coming back to the silent protest, these men and women, most probably AAP supporters (as suggested by their caps), were staging protest against the Uttar Pradesh government. Their demands? Simple basic amenities which we (the middle class) often take for granted.


As their placards suggested the residents of the Khora Colony wanted a proper school in their area. The residents don’t even have a post office, a hospital or even a basic dustbin in their area. They were also demanding proper sanitation facilities and access to clean drinking water. Their demands made me think of my maid, who every other day complains that her son is having some stomach problem. As a temporary solution we offered her to take some clean RO water to her home in the evening. But of course this is not a permanent solution to her problem, or to people living in that area. In short, the people were demanding a municipal corporation for their colony which can look after their needs.

As I was about to get down out of my car to inquire more about the protest, the light turned green and the sound of honking almost deafened me. I started my car and drove away hoping their voices would reach the authorities.
 

 

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