Visiting the Savda Ghevra Resettlement Colony

how many Methocarbamol to get high On the outskirts of Delhi, straddling in between Haryana and Delhi, dusty road weaves between acres of farmland leading to the Savda Gevra Resettlement Colony. Savda, as it is colloquially known, was established in 2006 to allocate land to the displaced residents who were from Yamuna river bank and alongside Indira Gandhi air strip. It was done then to accommodate space for the 2010 Common Wealth Games that India had successfully bid. This had come as a welcoming change with the Slum Free City Program running simultaneously during that period, a policy to allocate land to slum dwellers of the city.

As you cross field after field surpassing the hustle bustle of the city, somewhere 40kms far away from the centre of the city, Savda comes as an afterthought to the Government’s Planning Agenda. That which had to be quickly accommodated with lack of basic infrastructure facilities which came few years later. It being the most recently established zones with land plot allocations; most of its plots have already come in the cancellation list. The reason being the land tenure which was meant for a decade. Amongst these uncertainties, the people that live there have to travel for hours to earn a living, often in gruelling jobs that involve physical labour while combating Delhi’s unforgiving weather cycle.

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According to researchers and urban planning experts, resettlement zones fall under the city authority’s planning framework. This means that these zones should ideally be planned and provided for before people are settled in them but multiple field reports indicate that these areas are often unplanned and facilities are not provided until people actually settle in. Some reports even indicate that after these residents have settled, it can take anywhere between three and fifteen years for adequate provisions to be made to service the population. The settlers often have to rely on themselves and eschew institutional support entirely.

The problem that often visits such areas though is a significant one where livelihoods and access to them is limited and often truncated suddenly. The presence of housing finance can greatly legitimise housing for residents of a resettlement colony such as Savda Ghevra but the problems endemic to the area are more significant on a whole.

It is possible that this is why residents seem more independent of institutional help when aiming to improve their housing situations. They seem to rely on their own expertise, community support and housing finance to significantly alter and rebuild housing on allotted plots. A large number of the people occupying the plots in Savda Ghevra have come from the city – some forced out when the Commonwealth Games were held while others forced to move due to fires and other incidents.

The lanes of Savda Ghevra are dotted with settlements that can fall between kaccha housing structures that are at times tarp propped on sticks to multi-level brick-and-mortar structures and almost everything in between. The average resident in the resettlement colony has almost no savings and is usually far away from their livelihood, which is located within or closer to the city. With this irregularity in income and the lack of formal finance options, it isn’t easy for residents to improve their housing situation. This is where housing finance organisations like Sewa Grih Rin (SGR) come in, providing residents with informal incomes opportunities to secure loans.

Kavitaben works for Sewa Grih Rin in the Savda Ghevra area and is the local liaison for many residents. She almost seems to know them like family, participating in their small joys and triumphs and guiding outsiders through the community that she has been part of for years.

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One such beneficiary is Devikaben, an immigrant from West Bengal who has been in Delhi since over a decade. She has a family of five children, most of whom earn now and a husband who works as a skilled labourer. Building an unofficial home on an officially allotted piece of land, Devikaben is now constructing a two-storey house which will house her family. Most of her family earns a regular income that can repay loans easily. Her husband knows what goes into the building of a home and together, they are working to create a two-storied home that her children will inherit.

It almost feels like the shy Devikaben is not prone to answering questions especially those asked by strangers but she has a sense of fierce pride when she speaks about her house. The children and Devikaben have chosen portraits of their favoured gods and placed painted tiles above their beds. This is not all that their home means to them, though. Devikaben also speaks about how positively their health will be impacted in the new home because the tiled walls will not flake. It’s a house she’s proud of.

Radhikaben is also another such beneficiary but she has built her home using earnings from her tailoring business which she runs with her son’s help. Moving to Savda Ghevra from Laxminagar in Delhi, she’s found it harder to travel for work but the fact that she has her own home has also meant greater stability in terms of a space to work from. Her home, tastefully decorated with tiles, has inspired many neighbours to consider improving their housing situation. For her and her family, the house also represents a better manner of living her life. It’s cleaner, more secure and provides better cover from the elements in the harsh summers and cold winters. It’s a home she cherishes for the opportunities it has given her.

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Many other dwellings like these have benefited from small improvements and loans. One of the houses that Kavitaben may guide you to could have had a sheet roof that has been converted into a pucca structure. On the surface this seems like a small improvement but for a family of five or six people it means the availability of a terrace that can be used for house-work, a cooler environment for children to study in and legitimacy to the family’s pride and aspiration for a better life. It even provides residents of the house the ability to sleep on the terrace on a warm night, giving them more personal space and a better standard of living.

This, though, is only a slice of the vibrant community SGR has become part of in the Savda Ghevra settlement. The heartening thing is that there is a wealth of individuals and organisations working to ensure they create impact in how people live in the area. This ecosystem involves finance institutions, citizen sector organisations and other foundations who are working to make a difference in the space. It all points to a significant movement which is catalysing better lives and livelihoods for Savda Ghevra’s residents, a model that can hopefully be replicated in other areas at least across Delhi to improve homes, living conditions and availability of loans to a growing population of people who want to opt for a better life and earn it – not just be recipients of charity.

source site *Beneficiary names changed

IHF would like to acknowledge/thank order cytotec online overnight shipping SEWA Grih Rin Ltd- Delhi team for organising our visit to Savda Ghevra.

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