Saturday, January 31, 2015

Living in unauthorized colonies- my own experience.

While watching this report on prime time by Ravish on NDTV I went back in my memory lane when we used to live in similar colony. Our colony was also unauthorized, means it was constructed without proper permission and paperwork from municipal authority which is necessary to have a authorized construction on which you pay a property tax. Authorized construction is also registered under owner's name in government records and one can sell it legally and government can't demolish it just like that. As it was unauthorized colony government didn't provide necessary infrastructure like water, sewage, proper roads, etc. Our only hope was our corporator Mr. Shashikant Sutar who used to help us to get some of these things from the municipal corporation and he also used to take care of all the legal notices of demolition sent to all of us by municipal corporation. During initial days water was supplied by water tankers and literally it used to be a war like situation to get a bucket of water. People used to fight really hard to reach to the tanker tap first to make sure that they get enough water for them until the next visit of the tanker. Normally women and kids of the family used to do this water fetching business as men used to be at work. My mom really hated this ordeal because first of all she was a recent immigrant from other state so she could not speak the local language (Marathi) very well and by nature she doesn't like to argue or to confront anyone so she used to hate this but there was no other way if you want to get water. All homes in such colonies share common walls on both the sides, only homes at the end of lane have luxury of having windows on side walls otherwise only option to have windows was on front wall or on back wall (if it is free). Normally these colonies don't look homogeneous or uniform as people construct their own houses depending on their financial capacity so some homes can be two storied and some can be just one storey and they both stand side by side. Local politician play very key role in keeping things in order as everyone goes to them to solve their disputes and for any legal trouble from municipal corporation.

Life in these places is not that easy but it is not like that people living there don't enjoy or have fun, at least I had pretty good time during my childhood. I agree that our parents were under constant pressure of loosing their home constructed with hard earned money but we also had very supportive politician to help us and in turn we elected him as our corporator and MLA until his retirement from active politics. But I agree that governments can deal with these type of colonies in much better way rather than just making it an election issue and forgetting altogether about it after elections as they are doing it in Delhi. Our colony stands on private land, every family bought piece of land from some private owned and constructed their home. It was not on some government land encroachment and still it took more than two decaded to get it authorized, so whatever promises these political parties are making sound so unreal and like a election stunt. Now our colony is authorized with all the required paperwork and we all pay property tax on it but it took almost 20-30 years to get it done and still it is very unsafe with narrow lanes and no space for parking. So making them authorized does solve few problems, you get water and electricity, but the structure remains as it is, all structures are too close to each other, ambulance can't reach to many places. The issue to make these colonies a part of any smart city is very complicated. No doubt this is a very interesting topic to play vote bank politics and all voters depend heavily on political leaders for protesting their homes from clutches of law. Surprisingly everyone living in these unauthorized colonies get voter's ID, ration card or any other government facility but their homes are not legal. The issue is very complicated and deeply political, many political parties want such issues to last forever so that they can reap benefit from them in every election. I guess time has come for people living in such colonies to unite and then negotiate with government some proper plan which can improve living conditions in such places. They definitely deserve better treatment from government and in turn they should follow the rules and regulations. Both parties involved in this issue need to show some maturity and commitment then only this problem can be resolved.

I have very fond memories from time which I spent living in unauthorized colony, but I know that life can be better for those people. I really hope that this issue can be resolved and our political parties are serious about this issue.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. प्राइम टाइम : अनियमित कॉलोनियों का ये है हाल

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