Facing eviction, Air India Colony residents left to fend for themselvestext_fields
New Delhi: The Air India colony located in south Delhi's Vasant Vihar used to be a vibrant place with the pleasant hubbub of everyday life.
Now the place is in ruins with barely anyone around, bespeaking the difficult situation underway here.
A resident of the Air India colony told IANS how the whole eviction threat by the company affected even the kids.
"Mumma, I don't want to go outside. It's dark and I am scared," said an 11-year-old son of an Air India employee, who wished to remain anonymous and told us how all the kids are now scared to play outside in the streets of the colony with no lights and unoccupied flats.
"And not just kids, even we are scared to go for a walk inside our own colony that is allotted to us," said another employee, on condition of anonymity, who has two young children.
In January last year, when Talace Private Limited, a subsidiary of Tata Sons, took over Air India, and around 800 families of the employees living in the colony were told to vacate their homes, residents were devastated.
"We never realised that we are working so hard only to face this today," said a resident adding that "we have been employed at Air India for so many years now and they have no empathy for us."
The benches in the park lay empty and buildings deserted as we went around the colony to speak to more residents in detail.
Amenities as basic as electricity and water have been snatched from the residents and the colony is being run by the collective efforts of the remaining residents.
Spread across 30 acres and sheltered 2,000 families initially, which later reduced to 800, the colony is now home to only 250 families.
When water is one of the most essential things humans consume, AI colony residents have been denied that, too.
One resident, on condition of anonymity, said: "They also stopped giving us water supply. Even after the court's order to continue giving us its supply, they haven't restored it to date."
"We have been maintaining common electricity, water supply, and other staff including lift operators after coordinating with the Residents' Welfare Association of the colony," he added.
Where the colony's security was in the hands of 30 guards before, has now been reduced to only five new guards, who tell us that they have been hired to take care of the property alone and not the "people" residing in the colony.
"I am a single parent and every time I have to go on long-haul flights, I have to call my elderly parents repeatedly to make sure they are safe with my son inside and if the doors are locked," a resident chipped in.
"Theft has become an everyday thing here. In fact, only yesterday a robber tried getting inside our home from the back door," the resident added, saying that it has become very tough to manage things now.
What has become even more challenging for the residents is ensuring untroubled education for their children. "Changing schools mid-way is not easy. Getting admission to a decent school is not an easy task. There is so much to look at," another resident said.
"We are scared to even voice our complaints because we are ultimately worried about our kids. Most of us living here are in our middle age and leaving this job means no other mode of earning livelihood for our family," he said.
IANS after superficial editing by our desk