Rehabilitate Charan Khad displaced in Dharamshala SmartCity
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This is an appeal for the urgent rehabilitation of the families evicted from Charan Khad, Dharamshala Smart City, Himachal Pradesh last year on June 16 and 17. The newly formed Municipal Corporation of Dharamshala in co-ordination with the district authorities and police, launched a drive to demolish the slum settlement at Charan Khad (Dharamshala) and evict about 1,500 residents who had been staying there for over three decades. As per the MCD's own survery about 290 families had been residing in the Charan Khad area in shanties . These were migrants from Rajasthan and Maharshtra belonging to the Scheduled Caste and have been working as rag pickers, street vendors and daily wage labourers in the city over the years. Their children had been going to schools and colleges in the city and their education was disturbed by the displacement. The eviction was carried out on the grounds that the slum was a public hazard as our community was defecating in the open and that these were 'inhuman settlements'.
THE KEY ISSUES:
While the conditions of the Charan slum may have been deplorable, we as citizens believe that it was the duty of the government and municipal authorities to take steps to ameliorate the conditions of the slum settlement. It was the duty of the MCD to declare the area an official slum and make them eligible for the slum redevelopment plans.
We believe that the right to life and shelter is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and is a fundamental and universal right. This right is guaranteed to the citizens of India and for the homeless and poor.
The Dharamshala district has received funding under the Integrated Housing and Slum development Program by the Central Government. Apart from this, are other schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna for which the Dharamshala Smart City is going to receive funds. There was the 'Shelter for the Homeless' scheme as part of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission which has also been implemented in Dharamshala. All these schemes and policies are specifically designed for the poor and homeless.
The MCD needs to consider that the eviction made life tougher for the evictees and they are struggling hard to make ends meet. Their current place of shelter is insecure and dangerous. They depend on the city for survival and also contribute to the city economy. Living far from the city makes their hand to mouth existence even more precarious. If Dharamshala intends to turn into a well governed urban area it has to integrate people of all income categories and from various regions. Inclusion is infact the tagline of the Smart City Mission. The Smart city consultations that were carried out had promised taking care of the poor and homeless slum people.
It is very crucial that the MCD takes measures towards the rehabilitation of the Charan Khad evictees in the city.
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