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Left leaders meet Sonia Gandhi
October 04, 2005 18:37 IST
Concerned over the plight of thousands of people evicted recently from slums in Delhi's trans-Yamuna area, a delegation of Left leaders, accompanied by former prime minister V P Singh, met United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday, demanding that a national legislation be drafted to resettle squatters with no land rights.
The delegation submitted a memorandum to Mrs Gandhi, demanding that the government come out with a legislation to rehabilitate squatters near their place of occupation.
"We have urged the government to bring about a legislation to protect the rights of the citizens living in slums and till that happens, we have stressed that no demolition should take place," Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters.
Alleging that 'nothing' has been done to improve the condition of the urban poor, as promised by the government in its common minimum programme, Singh said it was important that forced evictions be immediately stopped and those evicted be allotted dwellings at least within two kilometres of their place of occupation.
The leaders, who also included Communist Party of India general secretary A B Bardhan, Forward Bloc general secretary Debabrata Biswas and Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Abani Roy, demanded ratification of the Draft National Slum Policy of 2001 under which several steps are outlined for the development and upgradation of urban slums.
"We have also suggested that, keeping in mind land shortage, vertical construction can also be made," Bardhan said, adding that the leaders have also sought time from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the issue.