Water, power other infrastructure issues in focus in S Delhi

In the melting pot called South Delhi where the upscale and posh localities coexist with villages, water, corruption, rising prices and sanitation will be the key factors in deciding the fate of candidates.

New Delhi: In the melting pot called South Delhi where the upscale and posh localities coexist with villages, water, corruption, rising prices and sanitation will be the key factors in deciding the fate of candidates.

Issues like rising prices of essential commodities as well as water and electricity tariff are a priority for villages and colonies where middle-class families are residing.

The residents of upmarket localities like Greater Kailash, Vasant Kunj, Hauz Khas, Safdurjand Enclave, Green Park complained more about infrastructural issues like car-parking, water-logging, sanitation, cleanliness, sewage and expansion of commercial activities in residential areas.

A common concern has been increasing pressure on existing infrastructure for growing population. Most residents complained about inadequacy of infrastructure in residential areas to handle the burden of exploding population.

This has led to issues of parking, congestion, sanitation and bad roads. "There are four-storey buildings being built, where is the existing infrastructure to support it," said a resident of Lajpat Nagar.

Parking is another major issue for the most residents of posh South Delhi localities. "Even though now people have started constructing parking spaces inside their homes, the problem of congestion persists," said a Rajesh Gehlot, a resident of Green Park.

"The problem of parking is causing a nuisance for the residents here. Even in narrow lanes, people park their cars causing traffic snarls," said Harjodh Singh, a resident of Safdurjung Enclave.

Another important issue for the residents of South Delhi has been the problem of drainage and water-logging. Residents of Safdurjung Enclave and Green Park complained that many owners would encroach on the drains for creating parking spaces, thus covering them and blocking the passage of water.

This aggravated the problem of water-logging specially during monsoons. In Safdurjang Enclave residents have complained about the water-logging in the monsoon in front of St Mary`s School. The stagnant water also breeds mosquitoes endangering the health of people living there.

Commercialisation of residential areas is another issue bothering the residents. In market areas like South Extension, Green Park and Central Market, this problem is more rampant. Residents complained that the residential areas are being slowly converted into markets.

"The efforts of RWA have helped but a lot still needs to be done. Commercialisation of residential areas also creates problem of security for us as we don`t know who is entering the locality," the Green Park resident said.

The constituencies in South Delhi are Greater Kailash, Palam, Mehrauli, Chhatarpur, Deoli, Ambedkar Nagar, Sangam Vihar, Kalkaji, Tughlakabad, Badarpur Malviya Nagar and RK Puram.

Chattarpur resident Ranvir Tanwar feels the need for extension of Lal Dora. "It is time for Lal Dora to be extended. The officials harass people under section 81, if any constructions are carried out. The number and size of families are increasing day-by-day and there is no place to accommodate them," Tanwar said.

Lal Dora refers to village `abadi` (habitation) land which is used for non-agricultural purpose only. Lal Dora was exempted from the building bylaws, and construction norms and related regulations under Delhi Municipal Act. Under the Section 81 of the Land Reforms Act, no agricultural land could be used for construction of houses and other purposes.

Rising electricity-tariffs and higher petrol and food prices are other issues of concern. "It seems like we are paying almost Rs 10-11 per unit for electricity," said a shopkeeper in Sangam Vihar market.

A trader in Ber Sarai complained about the landlords in the area who raise electricity rates "abnormally high" for the tenants. The inflated charges effectively also cover the landlord`s own electricity bills.

With the December 16 gangrape still fresh in their memories, women safety is an important issue to residents.

Ramesh, a father of two girls from Katwaria Sarai said, "I don`t leave my daughters alone at home now. Even when they have to go to school in Sarojini Nagar I drop them on my scooter and pick them up from school.

"After the December 16 gang-rape, women-safety is an important election issue this time as people still remember it. Their safety is paramount," Arun Middha of Badarpur said.

Dr Udit Raj of Indian Justice party feels the onus of women safety lies with the masses. "This issue requires cultural changes. Political parties can do little about it as it requires changing the mindset of the people and parties are afraid to do it."

The issue of corruption is of concern cutting across class lines. "So many scams came to light during the tenure of the UPA. We don`t want a government who is more interested in filling it`s own coffers. There should be clean men," says Arun Middha of Badarpur.

Most voters are unanimous in their desire to have a "clean person" to represent them.

The issue of corruption could benefit the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as they are claiming to field only clean candidates.

"I am a supporter of Congress but I have stopped voting. Only the work of rich and mighty gets done. Corruption is still rampant," said a shop-owner in Ber Sarai.