Call For Action: Occupy EWS Flats in Delhi

I read with alarm that our honourable Madam Sheila Dikshit and her government have failed to allocate 14,000 flats to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) people in Delhi. Reason? The incompetent government doesn’t know the definition of EWS or can’t make up its mind who it should award the flats to or which section will vote for her if they get the flats.

For the ones who don’t know who exactly can fall under EWS category, here is a note from the Government of India –  “The Minister of State in the Ministry of Urban Development Shri Saugata Roy has said that the Government has recently revised the income ceiling in respect of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) from the earlier limit of ‘upto Rs. 3300’ to ‘upto Rs. 5000’.” This was later revised to 6,000 a month.

Lets take a snapshot of EWS people and those who live in Delhi-

Our maids who cleans our houses, to the garbage collector, to the rickshaw puller who drives us to all the bylanes of Delhi, they all fall under this EWS category. So where do these people live? They live in the many unauthorised slums scattered around the city, they live next to the big garbage dump in Jahangirpuri and many other unknown places. In summers they face the scorching heat, in monsoon their little encampment gets flooded with rain water, in winters they shiver under the chilling Delhi cold. Now all these people would not have to face these difficulties for the last five years if the Delhi government was competent enough and distributed the EWS flats to the people who had duly filled up the forms. I am sure they had to make dozens of rounds of various departments and definitely some small bribe had to paid to get things done. But what do they get after all this? An endless wait because the government can’t decide who falls under EWS. Ask a primary school student and he/she will tell you who is poor.

Power to the people-

Its times like these that the people themselves have to take power in their own hands. If we look back we can see this happened during the Salt March, Civil Rights Movement, Chipko Movement and many more. More important people have waited long enough. 5 years is a long time. People who have registered to get these flats and people who fall under the EWS category should non-violently occupy these flats. They should be steadfast in the non-violent principles, even if they face violence from the authorities. People outside the EWS category (read: civil society, enlightened middle class, social media generation) should come out in support and form the outer layer of occupation.

Yes there will be repercussions from the government. A violent and of course a legal one. But are we afraid? No I am not and I hope neither is anyone. A time comes when silence is betrayal. Lets not betray our future generation, our ideals and surrender to this corrupt and incompetent system.

Shibayan Raha

“There is a point when anybody can become an activist. I mean you see something happen that is so wrong, you have to act. Even if it means the end of you.” – Edge of Darknesss (2010)

More information-

14,000 EWS flats lie vacant for 5 years in Delhi

Govt can’t decide who is poor, so 14,000 new flats vacant for 5 years