The inaccessibility of basic services in slums is directly linked to the type of land on which the slums are settled. While there are several government schemes to provide basic services to slums, they are restricted by the categorization of notified and non-notified slums. Notified slums are those slums in India which are officially recognized as slums by Census data, while non-notified slums are those which are not recognized in the official records.
The slums located on Railway land are usually classified as non-notified slums. In several cases, people have been living in these slums for years, denied of basic services. There is no official data that reveals their exact living conditions. Some slums in Delhi have been in existence for the last 30 years, and still, both men and women have to use the railway tracks for sanitation purposes. As the slum dwellers have been tagged as “illegal residents,” even electricity and water supplies are denied to them. In the absence of drinking water facilities, the slum dwellers are forced to tap water from pipes near the tracks for their household chores.
Another major problem the slum dwellers often face is the tag of criminality that is branded on them. As such, they become the victims of harassment both by the police and the mainstream society. Although it is common to find few members indulging in illegal activities, most of the slum dwellers are engaged in productive work. However, if any incidents of pick-pocketing or stealing are reported, the police usually pick up the slum dwellers without any proof.