Railway colonies in Lucknow present a picture of civic neglect

LUCKNOW Infrastructure of 31 railway colonies in the city is a living example of civic neglect. Dilapidated houses, broken roads, overflowing drains and poor waste management are making life tough for residents. The worst among these are Fateh Ali Ka Talab, Barha and LD colonies in Charbagh under the Northern Railway (Lucknow division).

A dilapidated house at a railway colony in Alambagh. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

“Almost all railway colonies have dilapidated houses, but people are living here illegally in connivance with top officials and engineering department officers,” said Ravindra Singh, a resident of Anand Nagar. Officials are not able to evict illegal occupants because of some influential union leaders, he claimed.

Five members of a family, including three children, died after the roof of their dilapidated house collapsed in Anand Nagar Fateh Ali area of Alambagh in Lucknow on Saturday morning. According to the police, the Railways had declared the house unsafe for living and even issued a notice to the family to vacate it, but they continued to live there.

“Recently, one Satish, his wife Saloni and three children died when the roof of a dilapidated house fell on them in Fateh Ali colony, but no official has been held accountable for the loss of lives,” lamented Aman Kumar, another resident of Anand Nagar.

A resident of Barha railway colony said: “Residents of these colonies are living in hellish conditions – roads are non existent, houses need immediate repairs but the engineering department says it doesn’t have funds. So, we have to spend on the repairs/renovations of the houses where we live. But how can we construct roads or drains…waste on the road is rotting at several places.”

“The road is non-existent and houses are crumbling, but the railways administration doesn’t have the time to visit these areas,” said another resident of Fateh Ali Ka Talab Colony.

He said instead of being accountable, the administration shrugged off its responsibility by saying these houses were declared unfit for use.

Corporator of Shri Guru Govind Singh ward Shravan Nayak said, “The roads in most of the railway colonies are broken and full of deep potholes, I have written several letters to the DRM and other railways officials in this regard but in vain. I also met officials for the demolition of dilapidated houses but they kept ignoring it.”

However railways officials said, “Notices had been issued to vacate dilapidated houses but people occupied them illegally.”

“There are 31 railway colonies in the city in which there are around 6,000 houses for employees of various categories. Of these, around 1,750 buildings are dilapidated. Among these, around 750 fall in the category of ‘very dilapidated and dangerous’. Around 15,000 people live in railway colonies, of which around 2000 live in dilapidated houses,” said Vikram Shambhu Singh, PRO, Northern Railway.

He said the Railways is soon going to demolish dilapidated houses and the process for tenders in this regard is underway.

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