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Who lives closest to Parliament?

The answer is scrap dealers Chotelal and Ram Jeevan, who stay in this garbage house barely 100 metres away from the corridors of power, allegedly by bribing cops and NDMC workers and posing a huge security risk in the process

Pop quiz: Who resides nearest to the Parliament House? Many of you will probably say, Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, as Rashtrapati Bhawan is pretty adjacent to Parliament. Well, you are wrong. Meet Chotelal and Ram Jeevan. Not only Parliament, but the prestigious Chelmsford Club, Press Club, Constitution Club, Mavlankar Hall, Rail Bhawan and Anushandhan Bhawan - all these places are in their neighbourhood.




The NDMC garbage house (Top) that is being used by some scrap
dealers as a home-cum-office. Pics/Imtiyaz Khan


Long-term plan
Chotelal and Ram Jeevan have been residing in this structure for more than three years. Built for the purpose of garbage collection, the house is being used as a residence-cum-office since the day of its construction. The house is located adjacent to the boundary of Chelmsford Club near the Rail Bhawan roundabout. Chotelal and Ram Jeevan work as scrap dealers and collect old newspapers and other scraps from all government offices situated in the area. "We have been living in this place for more than three years. We also help in keeping the area clean," said Chotelal. 




Won't let space go to waste! Inside and outside the NDMC garbage
house at Rafi Marg in New Delhi on Thursday. As visible, arrangements
have been made to dump the trash outside. Pics/Imtiyaz Khan


When this reporter asked the residents of this dwelling who had given them permission to stay here they replied that they have been in the area for several years and everyone knows them. They also denied that they pay bribes to anyone. However, locals, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that both cops and civic agency officials are paid by the scrap dealers and there is an arrangement, which is the only explanation for the situation.

'Power house'
The 'house' has a power connection too. "As the outer wall has billboards for advertisement, it has electricity connection through the company which manages garbage collection on behalf of NDMC. Bachoo, a barber, who has been running his business from near the boundary of Chelmsford Club for the last 40 years, said there was nothing wrong if the scrap dealers were using the garbage house as their residence. "I spend Rs 30 every day for my conveyance to reach this place and go back to my home at Madhu Vihar in east Delhi. At least these people are saving money on transport," Bachoo told MiD DAY.

Who's to blame?
Now, all the garbage is dumped outside the structure. What about the security aspect? "These people are known to many in the area. We don't think it as a security threat. But, it is shameful that people are living in a house meant for garbage collection and that too in front of Parliament," said a member of the Chelmsford Club requesting anonymity."I have no idea about all this. We will examine and take action accordingly," said Anand Tiwari, NDMC spokesperson.

Cause for concern
A leading TV news channel has accessed a note that exposes slothful security around the Parliament. Six days after the Delhi HC blast, the Union Home Ministry reviewed the security at the Parliament but what the drill reportedly revealed was - multiple security systems in the Parliament were either dysfunctional or unfit, including the perimeter intrusion detection system and face detection and recognition system. 

The fateful day

On 13 December 2001, five gunmen infiltrated the Parliament House in a car with Home Ministry and parliament labels. While both the RS and LS had been adjourned forty minutes prior to the incident, many MPs and government officials such as Home Minister LK Advani and Minister of State (Defence) Harin Pathak were believed to have still been inside the building at that time. The gunmen slammed their vehicle into the car of the Vice-President Krishan Kant (who was in the building at the time), got out, and began firing their weapons. Five policemen, a Parliament security guard, and a gardener were killed, and 18 others were injured.

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