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Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     04 December 2010

Delhi,a world class city???

With the Metro slowly spreading across Delhi and new flyovers, the average Delhiite may be pardoned for thinking that saddi Dilli has finally become a 'world class city'. But everyday life in the city is still chaotic and on the edge. Traffic bottlenecks, power cuts and water shortages in summer are part of what you might call an " urban deficit". This deficit is not just for the physical infrastructure. It extends to school admissions, healthcare and the most basic need – security. Here's a quick survey by Subodh Varma and Rukmini Shrinivasan of some of the key deficits Delhi suffers from


Taps run dry & ground water depleting fast

Water supply was 810 million gallons per day (mgd) in 2009. Demand was estimated at 990 mgd. That's a gap of 180 million gallons every day. In any case, about a quarter of Delhi's population does not get piped and treated water supply. They have to depend on groundwater. As a result, groundwater levels have fallen sharply and are down to 80-100 meters in several parts. In some places groundwater is polluted , with Kanjhawala and Shahdara having 1,000 mg nitrate content per litre. According to the Master Plan 2021, Delhi's water demand will rise to 1,380 MGD by 2021. The gross figures hide a deep inequality. Some areas get as little as 18 gallons per person per day, while others get upto 400 gallons . So, what's the plan for the future? The master plan suggests rain water harvesting, groundwater tapping from near the Yamuna and Ganga, waste water recycling, etc. In the pie-in-the-sky mode, it wants more water allotted to Delhi from various rivers and speedy construction of dams in Uttaranchal, Himachal and UP from where canals will carry it to the parched Capital. A Delhi Govt. study in 2001 had put the expenditure at about Rs 5,400 crore.


Where the sick wrestle for space on hospital beds

The healthcare delivery system is in dire straits. Due to deficient infrastructure – bad water, lack of sanitation and sewerage, pollution, etc. – the city is almost constantly under siege from various diseases. About a quarter of the population suffers from respiratory diseases. TB incidence is on the rise. But there are only about 37,000 hospital beds in a city of 1.8 crore, that is about 2 beds per 1,000 people. The WHO minimum norm is 5 beds per 1,000. In reality , the ratio is much worse because over half of these beds are in private hospitals where costs are prohibitive . On average , a Delhiite has to spend Rs 8,851 in case of hospitalization , according to an NSSO survey . This in a city where the average monthly household expenditure is Rs 8,554. The effect of poverty and lack of healthcare facilities is most visible in the fact that more than a quarter of births still take place in homes rather than hospitals, infant mortality has doubled from 13 to 25 per thousand live births during 2004-2008 , and 63% of children are anaemic.


Battling a permanent crime wave

The police commissioner's office has come up with stunning information on thefts in the capital last year. The total value of property stolen was a jaw dropping Rs 21,584 crore. Compare this to the total taxes collected by the Delhi government – they add up to Rs 13,174 crore in 2010. In fact, the total budget of Delhi government was about Rs 26,000 crore. What's shocking is that only about 6% of this stolen value was recovered by the police . There are nearly two murders every day and one attempt to murder . In 2009, 11,000 motor vehicles were stolen in the city.

Vulnerable sections, like elderly people staying alone, women and the poor are much more prone to this permanent crime wave. More policing, better security infrastructure and rooting out corruption will certainly help, but experts say that ultimately the social fabric of the city has to be knitted in a different way, more employment has to be created, the stark disparities need to be reduced if the temptation of crime as a shortcut to riches has to be curbed.


The big issue of trash control

In 2009, 716 million gallons of sewage was generated every day in the city, but only about 382 million gallons was treated. In other words, about 332 million gallons of raw sewage is being drained into the Yamuna every day. The trunk sewers and smaller sewer lines are already in a state of collapse. A colossal effort at renewal and laying of fresh lines, costing about Rs 4,600 crore, is needed to serve the population by 2021.

The city generates 7,100 tonnes of garbage every day, of which only 5,543 tonnes are removed. The rest, 1,657 tonnes, are left behind to rot in the localities . By 2021, 15,750 tonnes of garbage will be produced every day. Even if this gigantic amount is collected, where will it be dumped? Disposal would require nearly 205 hectares of land; 16 landfill sites are already filled up, 4 are in operation for a few more years and there are only four more proposed sites with a total area of about 108 hectares. The master plan hopes that treatment plants for converting the waste into gas or compost will be set up. But they can at best convert about 50% of the garbage.


Many famous addresses but short on houses

Delhi's housing crisis is hidden from many of its better off residents . For a city that boasts some of India's most famous addresses , the shortage faced by residents in areas far from Lutyen's Delhi is appalling.
Delhi has a housing shortage of 11.3 lakh units as of 2007, according to the Report of the Technical Group (11th Five Year Plan) on Estimation of Urban Housing Shortage. The majority of this shortage is among the poorest and a combination of persons without housing , those living in overcrowded conditions and those living in kucha houses . Only a quarter of Delhi lives in planned colonies.According to the state's 2010 Statistical Handbook, less than 50% of dwelling structures are classified pucca. As of 2001, 18% of Delhi's urban population (23 lakh people) lived in slums. This is projected to grow to 32 lakh by 2011 and 38 lakh by 2017, according to the report of the committee on Slum Statistics/Census of the Ministry of Housing.


Thousands out of school and many drop out

The Right to Education talks of both free and compulsory education , meaning that not only does every child have the right to education , but it is mandatory for every child between 6 and 14. S t at i s t i c s show that the city is far from achieving this.

The dropout rate is improving , but only 57% of students enrolled in primary school make it to secondary school (classes VI to VIII). More girls drop out than boys and the proportion of girls' enrollment to total enrollment is lower than in the rest of India . The proportion of enrollment of Scheduled Caste children is lower than forward caste, according to the National University of Educational Planning and Administration's 2008-9 figures. The union HRD ministry says there are 1.2 lakh children between the ages of 6 and 13 in Delhi who are out of school. Over a quarter of the women were still illiterate.


Women better watch out here

Nowhere , perhaps, do Delhi's failings in comparison to other Indian cities come out as starkly as in the safety of its women. As the recent gangrape of a young woman returning home to Dhaula Kuan from work shows, Delhi remains almost impossibly difficult for women to navigate.

Till November 20 this year, 402 rapes were reported as against 392 in the corresponding period last year. A large number of these cases remain unsolved.

There were 141 dowry deaths in 2009. Over 15% of women experienced spousal violence.

In a state run by a woman , the social indicators of women are poor and, in some cases, worse than the national averages. Delhi's s*x ratio as per the 2001 census was 821 females to 1,000 males (as against 993 in India). A quarter of women are illiterate and female enrollment is lower than male at all levels of education


 2 Replies

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     04 December 2010

Nice Info.


Roshni good info as you are from there but Delhi  has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies and insects.

Issi liye aap odomas lagati ho na .Aaap ko last month ko dengue bhi hua tha na,so Take care.

Delhi dengue toll rises to 1,857 Read this info;



We hope govt.take immediate steps for  health issue.As you already said: The healthcare delivery system is in dire straits.

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