Nirmala devi, a resident of one of these shanties has been living in the area for the past fifteen years. She lives with her husband, brother in law and three children in a single room which they happily call their ‘home’. Her husband is a street vendor and sells chole kulcha. Besides helping her husband with his work , she also does household chores to add a little more to their monthly income. Talking about the condition of the place she says ‘ not much has changed in their area in the past fifteen years’. They do not get running water in their homes. Instead they have to stand in long queues to get a bucket of water. There is a single tap in the locality which runs three hours in the morning and evening and which is shared by over hundred families. The houses have irregular power supply. There are frequent power cuts. However despite the absence of these basic necessities Nirmala devi had a blissful smile on her face throughout our conversation. She was talking with a spark in her eyes and enthusiastically discussed everything that she does. On being asked if they suffer from water clogging during rains due to the open drain in the middle of their street, she smiled and replied ‘ water clogging is quiet often during rains’.
There is an uncovered drain that runs in the middle of the street that surrounds houses on both sides. The slum dwellers usually keep their drinking water in stock outside their rooms due to shortage of space. The open drain is the reason of frequent diseases among the residents. During the rainy season the water overflows from the drain and enters their houses.
Nirmala Devi moved to Delhi fifteen years back from Bihar. She along with her other family members moved to Delhi in search of employment opportunity. The growing urbanisation in Delhi NCR has attracted many people from the remote areas of the countryside. However her family could not find anything better. She finally resorted to the slums of atta in Noida.
Geeta, a teenage girl from the same locality was living with her parents, three sibling, uncle and aunt. She was studying in 2nd standard and was attending a nearby government school. She said she was still studying in 2nd standard because she is not regular at her school. Most of the time she is busy in taking care of her younger sibling. Studies do not hold priority for her family. She does not have big ambitions of studying or working. All she thinks about is moving to a different place as she finds it quiet difficult to manage with so many members living in the same room. Her father is a security guard and her mother like most of the women in the locality performs household chores to sustain their living.
Manoj a rickshaw puller lives with his wife and children. He has rented a rickshaw and earns a meagre amount to sustain his family of four. Unlike the two ladies of the same locality he appeared very dismal. He was not satisfied with his earning. Indebted under huge loans he was very upset with the rising interest.
This is the usual life of people living in that slum. Unnoticed by the society these people are forced to live in the deprived and filthy environment. Huge amount of money is spent in and around sector 18 for building new malls, hotels, restaurants. But no one pays any heed to the slums that exist right behind the marketplace.
Noida was established in 1976 with the aim of diverting the slums of Delhi. Rapid urbanisation attracted more and more people to move to the capital in search of jobs. However the then government decided to create Delhi NCRs to transfer the huge burden of population to a nearby place. Noida came into existence during that period. The alluring lifestyle that has become a shopping paradise for the rich exhibits such poor accommodation in the interior. The expansion of the metropolitan city does not yield equal benefits to all. The noida authority is blatantly favouring the big powerful developers. There is constant increase in the number of malls, hotels and other complexes. The market is well connected to other parts of Delhi NCR through metro. However the authority has had a blind eye towards the situation for the past so many years. No attempt is made to improve the condition of the urban slum. There is lopsided development in noida sector 18 atta market area.