Equi-City’s focus on Slum Development-A challenge for Local Government

Slums & Urban Development

It is estimated that 78.2 per cent of city dwellers within developing countries live in slums. These slums are often described by their low standard housing, overcrowding, acute shortage of basic physical and social services and infrastructure, high environmental and health threat, non-compliance with planning regulations, insecurity of tenure, faulty alignment of streets, social composition (especially in relation to migration) and unfavorable socio-economic and living conditions.

Reasons for Migration

In the last two decades, migration from villages and small towns to metropolitan areas has increased enormously in India. The development of slums have taken place as a result of the industrial expansion in the fringe areas; lack of imaginative integrated housing development in the residential areas; & non-availability of cheap and reasonable housing accommodation for the lower middle class people in urban centers have forced a section of people to seek residence in slums. With growing Industrialization a large member of people migrated to these cities for gainful employment. This migration of people to the cities is leading to the dilapidation of urban and environment quality and sustainable development, especially in the metropolitan cities. The problems faced by the people living in the urban areas of India have become major concerns for the government over the last two decades. Slums are considered to be the major issue within many urban areas; particularly problems related to transportation, population increase, health and safety issues.

India is one of the fastest growing and developing countries in the world with many metropolitan cities (e.g. Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Chennai). Compared to other metropolitan cities in India, Mumbai is one of the biggest metropolitan regions and capital of the state of Maharashtra with many slums varying in sizes. Every year millions of rupees are being spent to resettle and rehabilitate slums in Mumbai to make the city sustainable. From 1980 onwards, the rate of migration and the sprawling nature of slums into the city has become a major issue. Although many organizations are working towards development and rehabilitation of the issues, the conditions are not conducive to achieving urban sustainable environment. Also, various researchers have reported that to maintain the pace of sustainable urbanization, a holistic approach to sustainable development needs to be considered.

According to the UNESCO definition “a slum is a building, a group of buildings or area characterized by over-crowding, deterioration, unsanitary conditions or absence of facilities of amenities which because of these conditions or any of them, endanger the health, safety or morals of its inhabitants or the community”. Though slums are spread all over the world, yet it is understood differently in different places. This is a relative concept in terms of its geographical settings and outlay. The concepts and definition of slum vary from one society to another and even from one study to another study conducted in the same society.

Some suggestions for improving this situation have been listed. They are:that the policy makers &planners, house building firms& social scientists should make basic studies on the existing functional use of space in slum households to find out the barest physical needs without imposing middle class value into the existing cultural orientation of the lower strata of society. So long, the facilities provided are not in keeping with the cultural orientation of the group the chances of misuse & abuse are great; facilities which are the immediate felt needs of cultural groups are readily accepted & put to optimum use.

The curative aspect of slum improvement should concentrate on arresting the mentality of “slumliness” as a character among lower strata of society on the one hand & in providing some of the basic felt needs on the group in keeping with the cultural conditions of the groups on other.

The preventive aspects of slum improvement or clearance require a multi-dimensional approach. To prevent the recent trend among the lower middle class to move to slum areas for residence in big cities, rental housing schemes for the lower strata of society should be started immediately on a large scale. A realistic rent control scheme taking into account the present cost of construction & return for the money invested in private rental housing will go a long way in promoting private rental housing also.

Keeping this emerging problem of slum development in consideration, Equi-City Team conducted a Training Workshop on Slum Development to sensitize Elected Representatives in Nagpur.

Glimpse from the Workshop on Slum Development

As part of Capacity Building exercise, Equi-City Team along with Nagpur Municipal Corporation held a Training Workshop on Slum development for the Elected Representatives of the City.

The workshop was conducted at Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Intellectual Property Management, Civil lines Nagpur. The Chief Guest for the Workshop were Deepraj Pardikar, Dy. Mayor Nagpur City, Girish Gandhi, Convener, City Development Forum, Tanaji Wanve, opposition party leader and Rajesh Mohite, Dy. Addl. Commissioner, Nagpur city. The Chief Guest was welcomed by the Equi-City team. Jayant Pathak, Regional Director, AIILSG gave a welcome speech discussing the Equi-City project and also the various problems related to Slum development in and around the city. Firstly, he discussedabout the purpose of the workshop thatis to the find solution to the problem of slum development in the city. The objective of the workshop was particularly on Government Resolutions and technical difficulties faced by the Elected Representatives.

 

The Chief Guests also focused upon the problems faced by the citizens regarding the Slum Development process and their displeasure due to the Local Authority’s stringent rules and regulation which affect their normal way of life.

 

The workshop was divided into two sessions majorly focusing on the introduction to slums, Land-use Patterns, and Patte Watap.

Session 1Leena Buddhe, Director, Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), Nagpur informed the audience about land management, development charges and other issues related to land.

The Expert discussed on the ownership of the land and Reservations. The session also covered the topic of the land development charges taken by the local authority and the questions were answered by the expert on the validation of the taxes by the Authority in slum development.  The session also included the subjects specific to Land-use Change and the process & need ofland-use change according to the user in the area. The expert covered the particular topic on Notified and Non-Notified Slums.

The discussion also included topics on categorical reservation of land distribution and the process of land distribution to the particular user and list of land parcels available throughout the city. Also, the various slum locations in the city were discussed based on their land use and their current reservation according to the authority.

Session 2

The particular session particularly focused on the GRs passed by the Local Authority and the GOI regarding the slum development in India. The land parcels belonging to the Naazul department were also discussed during this session. Various schemes like PMAY and SRA were focused on and questions were asked and discussed by the local leaders on various issues they were facing during their work.

The Issue for development of the private land and the land allocation rules for redevelopment were focused upon in the area. Questions were also raised upon the funds raised and the schemes allotted in the city and their actual on-site implementation, which were answered by the municipal engineers and Dy. Mayor of the city.

Mayor Nanda Jichkar, added to this discussion focusing on the needs and practices that a Ward member should follow. Mayor, Nagpur city mentioned the ‘Smart Prabhag Yojana’ which was recently launched in Nagpur city as a part and parcel for development of the city.

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