Janata Mazdoor Colony, an unauthorized resettlement colony in the North East district of Delhi, close to the Delhi Ghaziabad high way, has a population of about 125,000 people living in 13 blocks of congested gullies. Adjoining to Janata Mazdoor Colony is Mochi Colony, (Mochi means cobbler), which also has a population of about 100,000, living in 12 blocks. Unlike Janata Colony, Mochi colony is an authorized settlement.
Mochi Colony dates back to 1960 whereas the first settlements in Janata Colony were around 1977. The migrants from the North Indian states, who came in search of better living conditions, began to settle in both the colonies. Even today, the continuing influx of migrants adds to the population burden of the colony. Both the colonies are in the Seelampur Division of the North East District of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. They are close to Shahdara main market, on the Delhi Ghaziabad Highway. Two unauthorized colonies mark the boundaries of Chetanalaya’s project area: Welcome Colony on the East and New Jafrabad on the West. Naveen Shahdara makes the Southern boundary and the Northern border is Subhash Park.
The average family consists of 8-10 members. The total geographical area is very limited, and people are compelled to live in single room residential units with no proper hygiene and ventilation. In Janata Colony, most of the male population is daily wageworkers. In Mochi colony, the majority of the people are cobblers, who either work at home for the vendors in the city, or work on the streets. The rest of the population consists of rickshaw pullers, dhobis (laundry) and cloth makers working for the merchants in the city. Generally the women stay at home. The people are not adequately skilled and knowledgeable to get a well-paid job.
The men go out for work in the morning and comeback only in the evening. Addiction to smoking and alcohol as well as to drugs is common in the area especially among the male population. In some cases, up to half of the money earned by the people is spent for alcohol. Drug use is also found in the area, along with the presence of commercial sex workers, indicating vulnerability to STDs and HIV AIDS.
The educational level of the adult population is very low in both the areas. The children usually enrol in schools, but the dropout rates are very high, especially in the case of girl children. There are two government schools in the area, but the quality of education is very low. Children do not get individual attention, and many higher-grade children, even do not have the basic literary skills. Eventually the drop out also begin to engage in one of the traditional activities going on here.
Both the colonies are connected with roads. There is electricity and water connection in most of the houses, but many of these connections are illegal.. Recreational facilities are limited to a few open spaces in the area. The sewage and waste management are in very poor conditions. Lack of hygiene both at the personal level as well as at community level leads to many health problems in the area. The sewage lanes are not covered. The wastes from the houses are often dumped in the narrow passages, and it is in these same passages, do the children play. The colonies are in low laying areas, and even small rains cause flooding in the area. Seasonal outbreak of diseases like dengue, etc. is common in the area. The health care facilities include a government hospital and a few private hospitals. However, the government hospital many a time would not have enough medicines and the private hospitals are very costly.