Thousands Use Parking Lots As Homes In India


NEW DELHI – The declining viability of agriculture in India has forced the people to move out of rural India and shift into cities. About 72 percent of the Indian population currently lives in some 638,000 villages and the rest 27.8 percent in about 5,480 towns and urban clusters. There has been an increase in the rural population that has moved into the cities with the hope to earn a better living.

Nearly 100 people use the parking lot, the square of dirt on the edge of the cotton-sellers’ district in the Indian capital to spend the night, reported Tim Sullivan in a report by The Associated Press. All the people asleep in handmade wooden cots jammed one against the other while dozens more sleep around a tattered empty fountain nearby. By dawn the overnight community disappears. Its residents carry their scanty possessions in plastic shopping bags until nightfall, when the parking lot once again turns into a makeshift outdoor motel.

This is home for them. Some stay for one night while others remain there for decades, raising children who in turn raise their own children there. Desperate for regular income, the rural Indians are forced to look for opportunities in the cities and end up homeless, spending night after night in these scanty parking lots.

Every day, thousands of new residents arrive in the constantly growing Indian cities, part of a nationwide wave of urbanization bringing tens of millions of migrants from India’s poorest states. Most of the new arrivals go into the city’s rambling slums, or into the maze of crumbling concrete neighborhoods where rents are cheap.