The country’s capital is getting cleaner, greener and all set to show off its beauty and splendor at the Commonwealth Games 2010. Bigger roads and better roads, greener parks, better metros and what not! The Commonwealth Games scheduled to begin on October 3, 2010 is seen as a promise to leverage
This cleaner and greener is happening at the cost of
In November 2009, (while the “aam aadhmi” were struggling with a 14% inflation of food prices), the Indian Government doubled budget of the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games from Rs. 767 crore ($163 million) to Rs. 1,620 crore ($344 million). Several reasons were pointed out, justifying the need for a bigger budget. Despite doubling of budget, not a single rupee was allocated towards rehabilitation and resettlement of the evicted poor of
The 12-day event that is changing the landscape of
While such atrocities are orchestrated against the poor, what we see in the media is the honorable president assuring us that ‘every effort will be made to ensure a befitting and successful conduct of the Games’ or a worried Sheila Dikshit, afraid of failing to conjure a magic “world class city” for the Commonwealth Games. The concern centers on the “prestigious” game, and not about the shameful acts of violence the city is inflicted upon its poor.
The “cleaning and beautifying” of the city, is an euphemism for demolitions and destruction of the “filthy” aspects of the city. It is a case of developing a world-class city, angering its own citizens. It is not that displacements don’t happen otherwise—
Cities tend to present a hierarchy of legitimate citizenship and the poor are treated as illegitimate occupants of urban space. The policy and legal regime doesn’t stand by the urban poor, nor are their services given due recognition. The bourgeoning middle class is only too comfortable to believe that the urban poor are illegal occupants of the urban space, and remain apathetic to displacements. This makes it easy for the poor to be evicted (and if they are lucky enough, be resettled) according to the whims and fancies of the State. If at all evictions must happen, there is still a possibility to carry it out in a more reasonable and humanitarian fashion.
It is hard to believe that resettlement will happen- for there people who were evicted to make space for the Asian games in 1982 at
All of this, reminds me of lines from good old AbbA…
“Winner takes it all…
The loser standing small…...”
It is immaterial who the winners are, at the Commonwealth Games 2010, for we already know who the losers are- the hundreds of the homeless, deprived and displaced whose lives are changed forever....