A study by PUCL on the misery faced by the people of Madrampura Kachi Basti, Parvati Nagar and Devi Nagar in Jaipur:
The continuous downpour of rains on the 20th and the heavy downpour on the night of the 21st August, 2012 in Jaipur caused floods leaving the city devastated.
It was the two hours of heavy downpour on the night of the 21st measuring 17 cms which caused the havoc. Thus by the time Jaipur woke up on the 22nd of August 8 people in the city and two in the district had died and several Bastis in low lying area had been affected.
According to news and field reports over 50 Bastis were flooded and over 500 houses had either developed cracks or have been completely damaged many being reduced to rubble after the heavy downpour.
It is important to know that it was the Bastis alongside the Amani Shah Ka Nullah which were affected the most.
According to the JDA around 22.4% of the total population of Jaipur lives in kachi Bastis (slum areas). There are over 235 slum areas in the city in which around 4.87 lakh people live.
Most of these slum areas are in low lying areas, which are vulnerable to natural calamities like floods
Some of the Bastis where people have been deeply affected are:
1. Madram pura kachi Basti, near Muhana Mandi, Sanganer
2. Kero Ki Dhani. near Muhana Mandi, Sanganer
3. Vijay Nagar & Bhatta Basti, near Shastri Nagar
4. Fauji Nagar, Amba Badi
6. Girdharipura, Near Hirapura Power House
7. Prem Nagar, gurjar ki Thadi
9. Sushilpura, Ajmer Road
12. Parvati Nagar- Ganesh Nagar near Devi Nagar,
13. Jawahar Nagar Kachi Basti,
14. Ama garh Kachi Basti.
With water filling the Godowns in the walled city there was major losses of stocks of big and small producers.
The worst hit were the lacquer chudi makers, quilt makers, kite makers to name a few.
Commercial losses to the tune of 100 crore were reported in Chaura Rasta, Ram ganj bazar, Johari Bazar, and Purhoitji Ka Katla.
Background of the Amani Shah ka Nullah
The Amani Shaaah ka nullah, incidentally a hundred years ago was called river Dravyavati which flowed through the outskirts of the city moving to the south west side. But now it is a dirty drain with sewage and the city\\\’s industrial and other effluents finding their way through it. Also the nullah has increasingly become real estate for the land mafia, with not just big land sharks encroaching on the land, but the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) too has changed land use and huge tracks of land have been handed over to institutions with big wealth and finally the city\\\’s poor, the migrants, those displaced due various reasons including riots, thought were finally going to own a house plot in Jaipur were trappd by the mafia into buying land on the Nullah. Such sale of houseplots obviously happened with a clear nexus between the Land Sharks, police and the JDA.
This is not the first time that the Nullah has caused mayhem. In 1981 it rained for three days between 17 to 19 July and the heavy rain measuring 32.6 cm led to the nullah once again playing havoc. The devastation was not just in the city with several buildings including petrol pumps being swept away, the most famous case was of the Officers Training School called the HCM RIPA which came down like a pack of cards in seven minutes. But the worst hit was Sanganer, down to Chaksu when water swelled wall high in the Amani Shah Ka Nullah near Sanganer and Chaksu causing massive loss of lives and destroying agriculture fields forever.
Not much was learnt in 31 years about not blocking the encatchment or not keeping the Nullah clogged that continuous rain from 20th to 22nd and also 23rd has once again devastated lives and livelihoods of the people in particular the poor.
Coming together of citizens groups
According to the various citizens groups who came together on the 23rd and 24th August, 2012 (See List) the condition was extremely miserable in most places. There was Government intervention but it seemed confused and very adhoc. Food packets were reaching but people\\\’s miseries were growing as they didnot have clothes and bedding, toilets were a key issue for women and children were mostly neglected due to the miserable living conditions.. Many were staying in camps and others in their partially ok house.
The groups that met took a decision to make quick assessment of needs of the people in the affected bastis and present the demands of the people to the Government and also monitor relief. List of Bastis and the team that would make quick assessments were made.
Visit to Madram pura kachi Basti, near Muhana Mandi, Sanganer
Around 7pm on the 24th August evening Harkesh, Pappu and I visited Madram pura kachi Basti, near Muhana Mandi, Sanganer. More than 238 families had been moved out of Madram pura kachi Basti and they all were now residing on one of the empty platforms of the Muhana Mandi. Families had come away with just a few belongings and there were many problems faced by them. They were grateful that the devastation happened in the morning and they could flee before the water gushed into their bastis. Every house including temples had come under water here. According to them the police persons from Muhana Police station reached by 7am and warned them that a dam on the Amani Shah ka nullah had broken in the vicinity and there was no way that the water could be stopped. So they fled making their way to the Muhana Subzi Mandi.
They also alleged that the dam was broken inorder to prevent the water from entering Kiro Ki Dhani and it was diverted into their colony.
So severe was the water logging that the army had been roped in to pump out the water from the Basti. Despite the water being there for three days it was pretty high. More than 50 army personnel from the South West Command in Jaipur were pumping out water. According to one official the army had provided 10,000 sand bags and 10 water pumps in the affected areas of Madrampura.
Although when we went we saw only one pump lifting the water out from one area. In the Basti broken houses stood out in the middle huge tracts of water logging and all around there was stench of water stagnating. The army personnel said that it woukd take about ten days to pump the water out.
The 238 families living here are all Migrants and are mostly construction workers, loaders, drivers working as Mazdoors.
They are mostly migrants from Phagi, Diggi Malpura, Tonk. They were most depressed as the JDA was trying to throw them out and only a few days ago demolished a few hundred houses in the Basti.
The Governor\\\’s visit had taken place a day ago which they were highly appreciative off. She had come to them with the MP, Collector? Divisional Commissioner/ Police Commissioner.. However, they said that BJP politicians had not come in at all.
The Immediate concerns of the women at the camp was that:
• There were no facility of toilets and since they had to go far searching for cover ,in the night they felt insecure and were very worried for their young daughters. In the day they practically did not go as there was no cover.
• The camp was mostly in darkness with only one functioning road light.
• They had not bathed for four days as there was no cover for bathing too.
• They wanted at least a set of clothes.
• They wanted sanitary towels.
• Were tired of eating puree-subzi
• Children were not getting milk.
• They felt that there was no distribution system and literally they had to grab food.
• Were most disturbed about the break in the studies of the children.
• Their major concern was that should they get back their houses and not be sent to another place. They kept saying we do not want to be displaced.
• We called up the Collector and communicated the issues and requested that their concerns be immediately addressed.
We also realised that no management or food distribution committee had been constituted. While some people had come distributing food and clothing but no organisation as yet had reached to help the people organise some of these things.
We decided that the assessment of what the people should begin on the 25th morning itself and that maximum groups should reach there.
Visit to Parbatinagar (Devi Nagar):
Jamir, Dasharath, Harold Singh from the PUCL and Meva and Arti from the Rajasthan Mahila Kamgaar Union visited the two slums (Nai Nirman & Gonesal Bihari) which are situated on both the side of Amani Shah Ka nullah in Parbati Nagar.
Representatives from the Rajasthan Mahila Kamgaar Union and the Nirman and General Workers Union have been working here from before and were monitorig the relief here.
130 families use to live in these two Basti. Dwellers of this slum are from Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and west Bengasl.
They have been residing here since the last 15-20 years. Most of the house are puckka. All the fmilies have been affected.
Several houses had broken walls. These were houses situated very close to the Nullah. Maximum houses had also developed cracks on the floor due heavy pressure of water, due to water logging. The families who had the foundation 2-4 ft below the road could not save any of their household items.
Suresh Chandera whose house is just beside the Nullah 3 ft below to the level of the road, lost every thing.
We also met other 7 families who live opposite to Suresh even lost cash rupees (Rs.5700). A basement of a building under construction had water which was almost 6ft deep, the owner of this building was pumping out the water.
People had construction toilets behind their house as well beside the Nullah but now most of these toilet were fully or partly broken.
We also saw household items afloat in the flood waters. In the house of Suresh Chandera we saw the household items were intact but could not be put to use as they had been soacked in the dirty water. Some houses we visited were absolutely empty as all the items had been washed away.
People called to electricity control room and were able to cut off the electricity line as they thought it would be dangerous.
We also visited a small printing (clothes) factory beside the Nullah which had been destroyed. 4-5 shops include a general store was damaged by the flood.
We also visited a grocery shop at some distance from the nullah where the water entered into the store room ruining the sacks of rice, suger, dal etc
Due to encroachment on the Nullah, the water didnot flow away it rose and also due to the water table rising water has seeped i from the floor.
Although the water level has dropped to normal now in parbati nagar, but the people have nothing to eat, sleep, no safe drinking water, they can not cook food, are also suffering from various diseases etc.