In the lead up to the Delhi polls, only a little over a week ahead, Ravish Kumar of NDTV pursues his agenda to decode the complex policy tangle around regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi. It’s been a sticky issue for a long time, with political parties placing it high on their list of promises in each successive election.
There isn’t much clarity on what the current policy standpoint is and what, regardless of promises, political parties and authorities can actually do to help the 60 lakh people who live in unauthorised colonies. Ravish’s interview with Shahana Sheikh, aired last night, follows closely on her participation in the debate on the issue in the studio, where representatives from Congress, BJP and AAP had a chance to offer their perspective.
This interaction (watch the program here) between Ravish and Shahana takes place on the roof of the densely populated Sanjay Colony and is preceded by footage and commentary that highlights the daily struggles and travails of residents. During the interview, Shahana decodes the process of regularisation, spelling out clearly what it means for access to services and property title, how it would in reality impact the lives of residents. Beyond this, Shahana’s efforts to contextualise the phenomenon of informal and illegal development with aspects like urban planning, human mobility, jobs and affordable housing for a wider audience are worthy of appreciation.
Through the interview, Ravish took digs at contentious issues like evictions and demolitions, rehabilitation into high rises, trading and buying of votes and aspirations of politicians for “world-class” cities regardless of context. In all, a laudable effort to sensitise voters, highlight the economic value of unauthorised colonies and the need to find sensitive and workable solutions.