Shafiq R Khan


A face of unaided Delhi

Jamia nagar is located in Okhla assembly area with a population of 1000,000 approx, mostly Muslim migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Except a few well to do families most of them live in their rented accommodations and work as different daily wage earners in construction, zari factories and export houses. the area is one of muslim posh colonies in Delhi. 

In the name of Basic amenities only one MCD Primary school exists. No water supply, no sewage system, no proper sanitation and neither basic cleanliness is available. In the days of rains the whole locality faces water lodging which obviously contains filthy sewage water which becomes breeding ground for diseases. One open nalla which falls in nearby Agra canal containing the sewage of whole South Delhi district creates filthy fumes open to hazardous skin related disease. Even the Zari factories avoid renting the place nearby this nalla because its acidic fumes blacken their products. It can only be imagined, in absence of any survey that how health hazardous the area has become due to this open nalla.

photo - yuvakoshish
The whole area lacks primary health institution except a few private clinics of mostly quacks, who are only a catalyst in increasing mortality rate. However, a MCD dispensary in Batla House exists but with no facility for maternity health. As far as children are concerned, obviously their problem is directly related to their mothers, who are malnourished/under nourished and suffer from various diseases and compelled to work in their early ages in tea shops, dhabas, iron industry, zari and export houses.

Okhla wastepicker families taking a break    
The situation is grave for the seasonal migrant women laborers involved in construction works. Number of cases has been found where under age women work in the industry living in unhygienic conditions with their children. Situation for the pregnant laborers worsen when no facility available for their regular check-ups and due to their being a migrant they do not even able get government schemes like the Matritva Suraksha Yojna. Old age pensions, Vidhwa Pension (widow pension) and other government schemes such as schemes for BPL are not accessible to the women of this area because of their having no bank accounts as they usually do not posses residential proofs. Other government schemes like Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana which guarantees employment for the urban unemployed/under employed with a yearly income of less than Rs. 200,000 (revised in financial year 2009-10) has not been visibly implemented, perhaps due to non-organized community.
Photo Tahalka
As described above, for a population of more than a lakh, no government health facility is available. Women are much victim of maternal problem. The lack of government health centers fails to promote institutional child birth. It has been seen that for want of civil campaigns for reproductive health has also affected the health of women. The women generally face problems in identifying wrong developments during their pregnancy which sometime takes their lives during child birth. Besides this, many problems such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and vaginal infections go unnoticed. Miscarriage and under nourishment in women is common to the extent that it is considered a minor problem in the community. Almost above 90% pregnant women suffers from iron and calcium deficiency and most of them are anemic. Muslim society doesn’t talk on sex and this promotes the health problems of adolescents and gives way for unsafe sex. 

The major problem of population is that they do not possess any kind of identity proofs viz. Ration Card, BPL Card, Election ID card. This hampers their access to government schemes. They are not able to get the benefits of Virdha Pension, Widow Pension and Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana and Matritva Suraksha Yojna. All these schemes require to have a bank account in any nationalized bank, which is not possible due to non-availability of their identity and residence proofs. No nationalize bank exist in this locality, however if they try to open an account in far away banks they are mostly denied as such accounts are considered not financially viable for the bank. 

Private nearby hospitals such as Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Appollo Hospital who are bound to reserve certain number of beds for the BPL card holders are not accessible to the population due to non-availability of BPL card. Such identity proofs are also crucial for the getting small credits from the banks which could help them to make them self-employed or in the hours of need. The area is marked as negative area due to its Muslim population which is not correct in legal sense and violates the principles of equality before law .It has been seen as bank’s monopoly to put aside them. There is no co-operative movement, self help groups in the area which can promote the savings of daily wage earners, especially for women laborer’s earnings. There is an immense need of institution which can promote skill development among women to enhance their earnings.

Government has made child education a fundamental right but the area lacks institution which can provide them even basic education. Despite being the fact that the area hosts a Central University (which also runs schools) the children of underprivileged are unable to get into that. Here the same problem of address proof comes in the way. Though there is lot of Private Schools do exist but the problem worsen for the children of underprivileged migrants who are denied admission to the government schools. There is a need to form a community pressure group to make accessible the primary education to the children which can also convince the local lone MCD Primary School to admit all the children irrespective of their having any documentation. Education is less among underprivileged women in this area.

It is felt that mothers’ education is essential for developing overall educational environment in the family, ultimately leading to their awareness and empowerment. Awareness campaigns should be done among the target women about their reproductive rights/health and their roles in family beyond the daily house hold chores. They should be made aware of their property rights (especially under Muslim Personal law) and their rights in familial matters to protect themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

(Contents from my study)
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