Makeover extreme? Delhi resents forced house renovation

Delhi house-owners unhappy with directive to renovate houses,

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | May 26, 2010


The government feels that houses like this one on the Ring Road need repairs to look good for the CWG
The government feels that houses like this one on the Ring Road need repairs to look good for the CWG

Has the Delhi government done its part as far as preparations for the Commonwealth Games is concerned? Is everything, right from stadium for the Games to clean roads for the visitors, ready to welcome the guests? Certainly not. Then why is the government bothering the residents of houses on the roads leading to the Games venue, asking them to repair and paint their homes before the mega event?

Residents of Lajpat Nagar locality, one of the areas identified by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for the ‘task’, are really annoyed with the government’s move. Acting on the directives of the Delhi government, the MCD has asked residents of Defence Colony, Lajpat Nagar, East of Kailash, Bhogal, Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk to beautify their houses so that it leaves a good impression on the visitors coming during the Games. And if they don’t comply, the MCD is threatening to even make the renovations mandatory, says a report published in Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

Governance Now correspondent visited Lajpat Nagar area and spoke to few of the residents. “My house is quite good. I don’t need any help or suggestion from the MCD for repairing or whitewashing my house. They should do their job first,” said Alice, a resident of 21 A Ring Road. “Delhi is very dirty. People stand anywhere and urinate. Its very difficult to stand at bus stop as it smells like anything.  Do sweepers ever sweep the road properly? Further, trees planted on the side of the Ring Road are getting dry. Gardeners from the civic bodies come, chat, smoke bidi and go away. Can’t the government and the civic bodies see all these things? If they do their work sincerely the city will automatically look better,” Alice added.

The 74 year old Harash Kumar Aggarwal, a resident of 5 Ring Road Lajpat Nagar 4 is living in his house since 1964. “We do get the house painted and renovated when required. But everytime it is not affordable. Giving you the rough estimate, if we get our house painted from outside it will cost Rs 50,000,” Aggarwal said. There are lot many issues which the civic bodies need to focus on. Pointing towards rickshaws and water vendors standing on the road just infront of his house, Aggarwal said, services of rickshaw walas and paniwalas are necessary and they can’t be removed from here but a proper place in the vicinity should be allocated to them so that they do not stand in the residential areas. If these things are well-organised roads are going to give a much better look, he smiled.

“Government is taking house tax from us. They should repair and renovate our house if it is so urgent before the Games. The civic bodies should get drains cleaned, roads repaired and focus on other vital issues. Maintenance of residential houses can be well managed by the residents,” said Harish Arora, a resident of Lajpat Nagar 3.

“Lajpat Nagar is a mess in terms of parking. But nobody takes care of it. The directive from the government asking people to get their houses repaired and painted is really silly and I think people are not going to take it very seriously,” said Sudipto, a resident of Lajpat Nagar O block.

However, Madhu Chopra a resident of Karol Bagh is happy with the MCD’s move. “I was thinking for the past one year to get my house renovated. As government has taken this move I think that formalities like getting the plan approved or extension of some part of the house will be less cumbersome,” said Chopra.    

The MCD officials refused to comment. 

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