Bhalaswa, New Delhi
By Avalok Langer
For the 20,000 residents of Bhalaswa resettlement colony, information is power and Pushpa, the information gatherer. “The government promised housing when their slums were demolished, but they received nothing,” explains Pushpa, who has worked tirelessly for the Bhalaswa Lok Shakti Manch, spreading awareness about the rights of people whose houses have been demolished by the government. “They wanted to fight for their rights but didn’t know how to fight the system.” The 35-year-old was working for an NGO in 2008 when she took it upon herself to revitalise the platform to help create awareness among the residents of Bhalaswa. “We mobilised the women. We took on the corrupt ration distribution system, we filed RTIs to find out why Bhalaswa had not been provided with water, schools, roads or any basic amenities when funds had been allotted,” explains Pusha, who regularly receives threats from local officials and the mafia, as her work directly affects their ‘cuts’. With 33 slums listed for demolition in Delhi, the manch is travelling from slum to slum, sharing experiences of government-sponsored relocation. So far, they have filed over 300 RTIs.
Pushpa can be contacted at +91 88006 31852