he Nizamuddin area, which comes under the Jangpura constituency of Congress MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah, serves as a study in stark contrasts. On the one side of Mathura Road, which cuts through the area, is the tony neighbourhood of Nizamuddin East with its gated colonies and fancy residences. On the other side is Nizamuddin West, a large part of which resembles a dingy ghetto. West is home to the Nizamuddin Dargah complex, a "basti" (settlement) and shops owned by Muslims.
The area surrounding the Dargah is known as Nizamuddin Basti, which does not have proper sanitation facilities or access to clean drinking water. Most of the residents these correspondents interacted with were vociferous about the problems they face. Rasool, a shopkeeper, said, "Electorally, our basti comes under Nizamuddin West. But in reality, we are not treated as residents of either Nizamuddin East or West. This creates a lot of problems, especially when we apply for passports, voter ID cards or Aadhar cards."
Ahmed, another resident, added that their basti does not have a single public toilet. "We are aware that this area is filthy. However, sanitation is impossible to maintain when there are no proper facilities like public toilets." "We don't have a single school, nor a hospital. There is no Metro connectivity, despite the dargah's popularity," he added.
Ahmed also said that the quality of the facilities provided have gone down considerably. "We used to get water from a line along the Lodi Road. However, with time our connection was cut off and the water we get these days is not clean," he said.
Relaying water pipelines every year is problematic.
Nadeem, a youth, said that the lack of security is a problem. "There have been times when some local boys have misbehaved with women, including foreigners. The entire area has got a bad name because of these thugs. The police also uses these incidents to pick up innocent people from the locality," he said.
When asked who they would vote for this time, most of them said that they would base their choice on the party and not on the candidate. They are cold to the Bharatiya Janata Party, lukewarm about the Congress, and sceptical of Aam Aadmi Party's abilities. "Arvind Kejriwal is just starting his career in politics. Who knows he just might get co-opted by one the bigger parties," said Nadeem.
A hop across the road brings these correspondents to the wide tree-lined roads of Nizamuddin East, where one of the biggest "problems" faced by the residents is noise pollution because of the area's proximity to the Nizamuddin railway station. Electricity and water supply are in abundance.
Atul Mittal, a resident of B Block, said, "Several anti-social elements are seen lurking around the railway station area. Winter is approaching and the problem gets worse as it gets dark sooner these days. There are security guards, but the area is not safe enough for women travelling back from work late in the evening."
Rohit Bhatia, a member of Nizamuddin East RWA, said, "There are no civic issues as such. However, the annual re-laying of water pipelines is problematic. We have complained about this several times to the civic authorities. The other issues are illegal constructions around the railway station, which sometimes create problems for residents."
When asked which party they would vote for, both said that it was too early to decide.