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Unheard and Unseen: The Silent Struggles of Madanpur Khadar in Delhi

In the heart of the national capital, amidst the noise and chaos, lies a community battling in silence. Madanpur Khadar, an often overlooked and forgotten neighbourhood, harbours the untold stories of its residents' daily struggles. Despite its proximity to the corridors of power, their pleas for help fall on deaf ears.

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In the bustling heart of Delhi, amidst the towering structures and urban chaos, lies Madanpur Khadar, an urban village in South East Delhi where residents grapple with the lack of basic amenities. 

One of the primary concerns voiced by the residents of Madanpur Khadar is the absence of water supply. Nandkishore Saxena, a resident, reveals, “There is no water facility here. We get drinking water from JJ Colony”. When pressed about the government's involvement, a somber Nandkishore replies, “There is nothing”. Contradicting claims made by Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, regarding 20,000 litres of free water supply, Nandkishore says, “He must be providing free water wherever but not here. There is no supply of free water anywhere in A Block.”

Similarly, when questioned about the provision of 200 units of free electricity by the government in Delhi, Nandkishore seemed unaware of any such initiative. “I don't know. We pay electricity bills,” he admits. “Leave alone free electricity, we don’t even get ration from the shops. The shops that supply rations provide it to half the residents, and to others, they say the ration is over and you can come next time.”

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Omprakash, echoing Nandkishore’s allegations of government neglect, says: “The problem is that no one reaches out to the poor. We pay 10 rupees per unit for electricity. You can come and check. Electricity is very expensive. The summer season is going on, and electricity is a huge issue here.”

Drinking Water Contaminated By Sewage Water

As we dug deeper, it became evident that the residents of Madanpur Khadar not only grapple with inadequate access to water and electricity but also face the dire consequence of contaminated drinking water due to sewage leakage. In a shocking revelation, residents disclosed that their water supply has been contaminated with sewage water, posing a severe health risk to the community. Despite the pleas for assistance, the authorities have yet to respond to the community's urgent needs, leaving the residents trapped in a cycle of deprivation.

Madanpal, a resident of the area, laments the lack of clean water, stating, “We have not got anything. We are getting sewage water”. When asked about the efforts made by the government to fix the pipeline, Madanpal responds, “The pipelines are fixed, but all the pipes run sewage water. The water stinks. We raised a complaint with our MLA, and he said the issue would be resolved. However, the problem persists despite multiple attempts to redress it. When we complained to the JE (Junior Engineer), he said it would be fixed only when there is an order from the government”.

Shashi Saxena, another resident of Madanpur Khadar, voices her frustration over the dire situation. She reveals, “There's no supply of water here. Neither do water tankers come, nor is there a water tank here. The politicians who visit don't do anything. They give empty promises and just come here to ask for votes. There are no roads, no water. When the streets are flooded with water, the sales at our shops get affected. Customers don't visit us because of this”.

Gas Cylinder Woes

The challenges faced by the residents continue to mount as they grapple with issues related to the government's gas cylinder scheme, soaring prices of essential commodities, and the lack of basic amenities.

Jyoti, a resident of the area states, “They have given us free gas cylinders, but we can't refill them. The cylinder's refill price is around 1200-1300 rupees. What is the use of the scheme when we have to pay so much to refill our cylinders? The man who comes to deliver the gas cylinder provides 4 kgs less. He never brings a fully refilled cylinder”.

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Omprakash, further highlights the challenge of government schemes not reaching the intended beneficiaries, as middlemen often misappropriate them. “The poor don't know about the rules. If there are any schemes, they do not allow the schemes to reach the poor. It is taken by the middlemen. What can we do?” he questions.

Residents Allege MLA Unresponsive

As we spoke to more residents, they shared their grievances about the inadequate response they received from their elected representative. “You go to any politician, and he says the issue doesn't come under his jurisdiction. But when they ask for votes, it comes under their jurisdiction. But facilities don't come under their jurisdiction,” rues Nandkishore.

Residents also highlighted the apparent disregard shown by Amanatullah Khan, the area MLA towards the community. Kaurpal Singh, a resident, notes, “The MLA's disinterest is driven by political considerations rather than a commitment to addressing the needs of the residents”. Munnidevi, another resident says, “The MLA usually only comes to ask for votes. He would plead with folded hands for votes but will never do anything for us after elections”.

The sentiment among the residents is unanimous, as each person interviewed shared similar experiences of neglect and unfulfilled promises from their elected representative. Even Rajkumar, a disabled resident who sought assistance from the government, found no support. Rajkumar reveals, “I approached Amanatullah Khan twice to get my hand fixed at the ITO. But he did not help me. He did not even allow me to enter his room. He said he was busy with his guests and asked me to come later. I went to him a few times again but there was no response and then I stopped going. If I keep going to the MLA’s house, then my children will die of hunger. I am a daily wage earner”.

In an attempt to address the concerns raised by the community, we reached out to Amanatullah Khan for his response. However, the MLA declined to speak with us about the problems faced by the residents of his constituency.

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The challenges faced by the residents of Madanpur Khadar reflect the larger struggles faced by marginalised communities, where their pleas for assistance and representation often go unheard. As their elected representative continues to evade their concerns and neglect their needs, the residents find themselves trapped in a cycle of unfulfilled promises and overlooked demands.