Migrant Workers Protest Lack of Electricity, Water in Noida Colony

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Residents endure severe hardships exacerbated by the scorching heatwave

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – In Noida’s Sector 78, over a thousand migrant workers are staging protests against the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), demanding access to electricity and water in their unauthorised JJ colony. The area, housing 400 families, faces severe hardships exacerbated by the scorching heatwave.

Sarda, 45, describes the dire situation: “We drench our dupatta in water and put it on our little children. That gives them a bit of relief. We can’t stay inside the jhuggi; it’s unbearable. When we come out, we bathe in our sweat. It’s a living hell.”

The residents, including sweepers, ragpickers, e-rickshaw drivers, daily-wage labourers, and house helpers, seek basic and essential services. However, the government has declined, citing the colony’s legal status. UPPCL Executive Engineer Shivam Tripathi clarified that since the land belongs to the Noida Authority, providing electricity could strengthen residents’ claim to the land.”

Established nearly three decades ago by migrants from Bareilly, Muzaffarnagar, and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, the colony lacks basic amenities. Ranjit Choudhary, 38, a former cleaner and now a protest leader, explains: “The jhuggi spans 1,000 square yards with 384 hutments. Our homes have makeshift roofs and floors of plastic, tin, ceramic, soil, cement, or broken tiles. There’s no ventilation or electricity for fans or lights.”

Chandani Chauhan, 24, a domestic help, earns Rs 11,500 monthly but finds living conditions unbearable. “With no windows or airflow, it’s impossible indoors,” she laments.

For Shanti, 80, a widow and ragpicker caring for her granddaughters, coping is a daily struggle. “The cloth fan works better wet, but the sun’s harshness means nothing helps,” she says.

Ravinder Pradhan, head of the Akhil Bhartiya Safai Mazdoor Organisation, leads the protest, citing bureaucratic hurdles. “UPPCL needs Noida Authority’s permission, but they refuse, despite granting electricity to similar jhuggi clusters elsewhere,” he states.

Health issues worsen amid power shortages. Kiran Devi, 32, worries about her ill son. “The doctor advised a cooler, but with no power, what can we do?” she asks. Ruby Devi, 35, fears for her epileptic daughters amid rising heat-related seizures.

“We won’t stop until our children have electricity. They’re suffering,” declares Akhilesh Kumar, 40, a dhaba delivery boy. “We’re citizens, demanding our basic rights.”

Despite appeals to the Gautam Buddha Nagar district magistrate, Ranjit Choudhary notes, “Our pleas go unanswered.” DM Manish Kumar Verma acknowledges the dilemma: “As it’s illegal occupancy, we can’t install electrical infrastructure. We’ll explore policy changes to address residents’ long-standing presence.”

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