Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Millions in New Delhi slums being displaced

Though I think the real shocking news might be that the American press has actually covered it.
Via CNN:

Bulldozers razed the makeshift home and hundreds of others earlier this month as the Indian government moves to improve New Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Officials say the land is for a road and the demolitions are simply part of a master plan to clean up the city and move slum-dwellers to proper housing.

But, the government says, there will be no relocation for families like Hanso Devi's because they do not meet relocation requirements.

The government says they are squatting too close to the road, and are located in a major development zone.

"You see they have encroached on the specific project lengths -- there will be no notice, no relocation projects for them," said New Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra, who says she and the city are worried about those who have been left homeless.

About 3 million people live in New Delhi's slums, the government estimates. Mehra says New Delhi is slated to build 100,000 new apartments, though only 6,800 are under construction.

Millions of Indians have been displaced for the causes of economic and cultural development over the past decade. (I wonder if a recent widely acclaimed film about these slums had anything to do with this random piece of coverage on the matter.)

As for the razing of slums for an international sporting event, it's nothing new. It happened most recently in China, for the Olympic games, and is happening right now in South Africa in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. Ah, isn't "development" a beautiful thing to watch unfold?

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