The ramshackle metal construction is a haphazard ensemble of rope, poles and dirty plastic sheeting which barely keeps out swarms of hungry flies much less the merciless sun. Inside Sunita Devi lies on a bed listlessly with her five-year-old daughter Chintu and husband Malik Sharma. The family is merely a drop in the ocean; a collection of ragged souls in a global sea of 100 million people without a place to live. The three-room house they used to call home on the banks of Delhi's River Yamuna is now nothing more than a pile of bricks and rubble. Bulldozers - which last week razed the slum Sunita and Malik lived in for the last 23 years - have seen to that. Homeless, landless and jobless, 34-year-old Sunita is beyond crying. 'When the bulldozers came, it was around 4pm. We did not get any [advance] notice. They told us to collect all our stuff and then started demolishing. We were really upset. That was 23 years of life just knocked down in a flash,' she says. Malik, 40, a carpenter, along with his sons Mintu, 15, and Tinku, 13, managed to salvage what little they could and built an ad-hoc home in the shadow of their old house. The shelter is a jumbled two-storey affair, not unlike an untidy bunk bed, made of two charpoys tied on top of each other. The family cook, eat and spend their days in their new home, while their few belongings, plastic jars of rice, spices and tea, flip-flops and a clock that has long since stopped working, sit incongruously nearby. Sunita huddles next to her belongings. 'What can we do? We don't know where we will go. We will just stay here until we get kicked out. We hope that the government will give us some land. That's all we can do.' Two million in India alone, are homeless, the United Nations estimates, while millions more are forced to live in slums. The numbers in India will rise, the agency has warned, with mass forced evictions set to create ghettoised 'apartheid' cities as the subcontinent clamours to build 'world class' cities and fulfil its destiny as a global economic player. As India continues on her upward fiscal trajectory, people like Sunita are paying a heavy price. She was last week among thousands of slum families who were forcibly evicted from public land on the banks of the River Yamuna as the capital's government gears up to develop the area for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a multimillion-dollar river-beautification scheme. In a series of demolitions which began two years ago and are continuing today, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MDC) has forced around 35,000 Yamuna slum families from their homes. Evicted communities face little hope of resettlement as Delhi government rules dictate that only those slum-dwelling families which can prove with documentation that they lived in the same slum for more than the past eight years are entitled to be re-housed. It is a legal hurdle which means around 80 per cent of the city's 10.5 million slum-dwellers have no resettlement rights and, if evicted, are destined either to move to other slums or join the ranks of Delhi's 120,000 homeless. For those slum-dwelling families in Delhi who are resettled, most have found their new homes are in one of two camps set up by the MCD, Jhuggi Jhopri [makeshift shelter] and Slum wing. The sprawling Bawana Jhuggi Jhopri Colony is home to around 50,000 former slum-dwellers. It first sprang to life two years ago. The camp is a confusing collection of dusty gullies, impromptu shops and five primary schools. Families who live in the resettlement camp say they have had limited water supplies for the past five months and rely on hand pumps which are scattered around the site. Electricity supplies are erratic and there are two empty health centres. Resettled Bawana slum dwellers must pay 400 rupees ($68) each year to live at the camp and have five-year leases for their homes. But they are given no tenure rights, which means communities face the possibility of being forcibly uprooted again. Mohammed Mukin, 25, has lived in a one-room corrugated tin house with six other family members in Bawana since they were forced from their Yamuna slum home two years ago. They survive on between 1,800 and 2,000 rupees a month which Mohammed earns making intricate bangles and necklaces from sequins and copper wire. He says: 'Life was better on the River Yamuna. Everything was nearby, here we have no facilities ... there are problems here [in Bawana resettlement camp] in every way. Children don't get into schools. The school authorities look at whether you come from the slums or whether you come from a 'decent' family ... nothing will change here. I don't have any hope about the future,' he says. 'It's the government's responsibility but they don't do anything for us.' It is a view echoed by Miloon Kothari, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, who says the situation in India has reached a crisis. 'I think the [Indian] Prime Minister [Manmohan Singh] should come out with a statement that says that they will put a hold on development-based displacement until we have a national rehabilitation policy in place and that policy should spell out under what conditions evictions can take place and the criteria to be taken,' he said. 'You are seeing this thing of two Indias; the sharp disparity between shopping malls and slums.' The grim scenario is being played out in many of the subcontinent's other cities, including India's financial capital Mumbai and the eastern city of Calcutta. Development charity ActionAid in Calcutta estimates the city currently has around 61,000 homeless people, a figure which spiralled from 49,000 in 1999. It is an upward trend ActionAid officials believe will continue as migrant workers from rural areas move to the city in search of work only to find Calcutta provides no shelters or accommodation for the poor. Legal experts have also called into question the lack of political will to enforce existing laws for slum-dwellers and the homeless. The Indian constitution guarantees people the right to a dignified life, including housing. New Delhi has also ratified the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights which states people have the right to adequate housing and that signatory nations have a responsibility to uphold this right. But the subcontinent has no laws specifically designed to protect the homeless and slum dwellers. While Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam last week gave the nod to the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill 2006, an act which has imposed a one-year moratorium on all the capital's demolitions, the law has come too late for thousands of Delhi's evicted slum-dwellers. Lawyers have warned the legislation will be a toothless tiger unless politicians use the 12-month stay of execution to create new country-wide laws to safeguard the rights of India's vulnerable. Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer specialising in rights of the homeless and slum-dwellers, said: 'What we need is a law which is specifically designed for the homeless and slum-dwellers ... what we are seeing in this country is a very large-scale onslaught on the poor by every organ of the state including the government and the courts.'