Regularisation of Delhi’s unauthorised colonies has been a burning political issue for the last many years, gaining momentum as each election approaches. This time is no different. NDTV India’s discussion on the issue last night brought on board representatives from the three main political parties in the fray (Congress, BJP and AAP), a heated debate in which Shahana Sheikh of CPR made a vital contribution as an expert.
Shahana’s knowledge of where and how the poor in Delhi live stems from CPR’s extensive work on the dynamics of informality in the city. To put things in context, over 60% of Delhi’s population lives in informal settlements, of which Delhi has a rather astonishing variety. There are, in fact, seven types of settlements in Delhi outside the planned realm including slum designated areas, jhuggi jhopri clusters, resettlement colonies, unauthorised colonies, regularised unauthorised colonies, urban villages and rural villages.
The Cities of Delhi project seeks to document the degree to which access to basic services varies across the above different types of settlements and examine how the residents of the city interact with their elected representatives, state agencies, and other agents in securing public services.
Shahana’s deep involvement in the project, which involved extensive fieldwork at various locations across the city as well a deep study of the institutions and processes involved, enables her to clearly articulate the reality of the situation in a debate where clashing political parties are trying their best to frame the issues to their own advantage!
Do watch this video of the very engaged and entertaining discussion that unfolded on the show hosted by Ravish Kumar.