Abysmal shelter record remains a concern

Mumbai may have outperformed every other district in the state when it comes to access to tap water,electricity and ownership of assets such as phone,computers and televisions but it has the worst record as far as shelter is concerned.

Written by Shalini Nair | Mumbai | Published: March 16, 2012 12:40 am

Mumbai may have outperformed every other district in the state when it comes to access to tap water,electricity and ownership of assets such as phone,computers and televisions but it has the worst record as far as shelter is concerned.

Data from the first phase of Census 2011,known as Houselisting and Housing Census,shows that Mumbai city and its suburbs have the most abysmal record when it comes to ownership or houses and size of the dwelling. The state average for ownership of houses is 81 per cent. In comparison,Mumbai suburban (75 per cent),Thane (72 per cent) and Mumbai city (67 per cent) have the least number of ownership houses of the 35 districts in the state. Even the state’s most under-developed districts such as Nandurbar,Gadchiroli and Osamabad–that are most deprived of basic facilities such as access to clean drinking water or sanitation–have 90 per cent or more of its population owning houses.

Mumbai is also the worst performer when the size of the dwelling is taken into account. About 62 per cent of the people in the island city and 55 per cent in the suburbs are forced to squeeze in to one-bedroom apartments as against the state average of 42 per cent. In a direct correlation,on the parameter of access to latrine facility within the house Mumbai lags behind many districts such as Nagpur,Sindhudurg,Kolhapur,Pune and Satara. Only 67 per cent in the city and 54 per cent in the suburbs have the luxury of a toilet in their homes as compared to the above-mentioned five districts where over 70 per cent homes have toilets.

RN Sharma of the Centre for Development Studies,TISS,said despite the fact that a majority in Mumbai live in one bedroom cubbyholes,builders are creating largely luxury houses. “With Rs 1 crore being the average cost of a house in Mumbai,there are no takers and yet builders can afford to hold on to their unrealistic prices. Affordability has suffered due to the distorted nature of real estate in Mumbai. The state has steadily withdrawn from its role of providing shelter in Mumbai and let the market forces hold sway,” said Sharma.

Ranjit Singh Deol,director of Census operations in Maharashtra said,“While we have to analyse the figures that are just out,overall Mumbai has scored better than the state average on most parameters while Maharashtra has fared better than the national average.” On a statewide level,a whopping 69 per cent own mobile and landline phones as on 2011 as against only 14 per cent in 2001. A similar growth trajectory is not evident in terms of latrine facilities as 46 per cent of the households are still without a toilet as against 64 per cent ten years ago.

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