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How I used the power of the Constitution to get pipelines for my community


Story submitted by: Rukhsar Mullah


"As part of my job at Apnalaya, I lead a group of volunteers who hold a bigger vision for the basti like providing toilets for everyone in their basti (community). So, I have been training these volunteers as well on how to approach relevant authorities and how to draft effective applications. I understand the importance of not only recognizing citizens' rights but also acknowledging their responsibilities. Hence, we ensure that all our volunteers follow proper procedures and complete all necessary documentation, including their families, to protect them from any potential harassment or legal issues. This is especially important in our communities, where having complete documentation, such as a photo ID, can provide a basis for proper compensation to all in case of any demolition or legal disputes. So to ensure that rights reach us, it is our responsibility to play our parts as well.


During the training with WTPA, I learnt new skills of linking the issues I work on with the rights given in the Constitution. The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), which serve as guidelines for the State government, have been useful in my application writing to various departments. They have been particularly helpful when addressing complaints about the lack or absence of entitled benefits. (Removed a sentence here)


I also came to realize the importance of thorough reading and understanding government regulations that are relevant to my work. Since the training, I have been studying the policy of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). In my research, I discovered that under the provision of 'water for all,' urban local bodies were mandated to install water pipelines at every 8-kilometre interval. However, in our area, there were no pipelines. Using the written rule of SBM, I wrote an application to the Municipal Corporation. I also added the relevant articles of the Constitution like Article 21 and attached a copy of the SBM rule. The application was considered and the proposal for installing water pipelines was accepted in my area, and I am hopeful that they will be installed soon. I feel that since I have understood to connect my work with constitutional principles, my application writing has become more focused.”


Rukhsar Mulla is a Field officer at Apnalaya, an organisation that works with the urban poor enabling access to basic services, healthcare, education and livelihoods; empowering them to help themselves; and ensuring the provision of civic entitlements through advocacy with the government.

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