Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Poor Planning for Urban Poor ?



Mumbai Mirror ( 14 May 2016 ) carries a report with following headline :

" Over 2 lakh homes built for urban poor lying vacant "


According to this report :

#   10.32 lakh low cost houses were built under JNNURM / Rajiv Awas Yojna

#   Of these, 2.38 lakh flats found no takers  !



REPORTED  REASONS  :


#  As per Shri Vankiah Naidu ,

   " Allotment could not be made because of the reluctance of slum dwellers
    or beneficiaries to shift , incomplete basic infrastructure and lack of
    livelihood sources "


#  As per town planning experts ,

   "  The problem is that most of these houses are constructed in the outer
    limits of the cities , making it inconvenient for the poor to travel and the
    installment can go up to Rs 4,000 / - per month , which is beyond the
    reach of many of the poor "


Though not an expert , either on housing or on town planning or on earning
 / installment paying capacities of the Urban Poor , I had made some simple
suggestion in my following blog ( dt  05 June 2014 ) :

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Thursday, 5 June 2014

Urban Renewal ?


An important aspect of urban renewal is to get rid of slums , by resettling slum-dwellers in better houses


Then convert those vacated slum areas into gardens


But slum-dwellers are unwilling to vacate their huts .


Why  ?


Over the past 25 / 30 years , the standard method was to move the slum-dwellers into some temporary , make-shift transit camps , pending permanent rehabilitation


But that promised " permanent rehabilitation " never came  !


Those who agreed to get shifted into those transit camps , continue to live there for generations - without any hope of ever moving into multi-story concrete buildings with running water / electricity / toilets


Given this broken promises , who would agree to shift out  ?


Second problem is availability of jobs nearby where they are forced to move - even if these buildings happen to be well-built , modern and permanent multi-storied buildings


Who would want to move to a better / permanent house , if it is 30 Km away from a work-place  ?


No one wants to spend 4 hours on the road every day , commuting to a place of work in dense traffic , riding a crowded bus / train  !


But most slum-dwellers would happily vacate their slums and move 150 Km away , if ,


*  It is a well built building with all amenities


*  It is a  permanent home ( - and not a transit facility  )


*  It is given FREE , on ownership basis


*  There is a job within 1 Km of the new home



This is exactly what China is doing , by building ONE brand new Mega City , EVERY 20 DAYS  !


And moving 250 million slum-dwellers into those cities over the next 20 years ( - nearly ONE MILLION people , EVERY MONTH  !  )


May be this is what NaMo was thinking when he dreamt of constructing 100 Mega Cities in next 5 years - at the rate of ONE city EVERY 18 DAYS  !


OLD  cities cannot " Re-new " themselves , until well-planned NEW cities are built first and ready to receive those old city slum-dwellers and offer them jobs



Only problem :



* Mega City of Dholera ( in Gujarat ) is under construction for over last 3
 years and expected to cost , Rs 70,000 Crores


* Central Government has neither the money needed to construct 100 cities,
nor the administrative / technical competence for such a project


*  Democratic Institutions are un-suited for taking bold / harsh /
 controversial decisions - then bulldoze !



It seems urban renewal will remain a mirage  !




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25  May   2016

www.hemenparekh.in / Blogs

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