Muddy waters in Delhi’s Dusty South


I was asked to write something on water for a series at SouthAsia@LSE.  This is mainly about discretion in urban services and the blurring of public and personal power in Delhi’s peripheral unauthorised areas.

At the edge of south Delhi, beyond the wealthy enclaves synonymous with the city’s elite, stands one of Delhi’s largest unauthorised urban areas, tucked in a corner by the Haryana Border.  Around the time the area was first occupied it was the site of intensive mining, feeding the city’s continual need for construction materials. Many inhabitants were originally drawn by this work, but as output from the mines diminished, and court judgements called for mining to cease, the land was declared a wildlife sanctuary instead.  However, the workers who had settled in the locality stayed on, rebuilding their homes after repeated rounds of demolition by the municipal government.

You can read the rest of the piece (and see the pictures) here…