A REPORT by a People’s Commission appointed by the National Alliance of People’s Movements says slum dwellers who cannot afford ownership of houses even under the Slum Rehabilitation Schemes should have the option to rent a facility.
The report, prepared by the Commission headed by Justice H Suresh, looks at the irregularities and illegalities in the Slum Rehabilitation Authority. Tata Institute of Social Science professor Amita Bhide was also a member of the committee.
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The Commission’s findings are based on its observations on six SRA projects — Pragati Mandal and 50 other cooperative housing societies in Bandra, Indira Nagar in Jogeshwari, Mahendra and Somayya Quarry, Ramnagar in Ghatkopar and Shiv Koliwada in Sion. The Commission found loopholes in the policy and reported, “This mode of development of housing is fundamentally wrong.”
“The entire machinery is working to support the developers who are the prime moving force in the scheme,” stated the report. The Commission found that most of the SRA projects were designed such that the land used for rehabilitation was less than 50 percent of the total land area.
“Over the years, the SRA has been significantly lobbied to by organized groups of developers to smoothen the process of implementation. However, it is evident from the testimonies that were heard by the Commission that the slum residents have not been able to even obtain proper hearings of their grievances, leave alone lobby for their interests. There is a single window for the developers but slum residents have to run from pillar to post for getting information, responding to actions of the state, getting their entitlements and to extract some response in case of adverse impacts,” stated the report.
Among other suggestions, the Commission proposed there should be rental housing provisions for families/individuals who are new entrants to the city and do not require or cannot afford ownership houses. The report said, “Since all the slum dwellers do not belong to the same economic category, thus to say that all would require or can afford housing on ownership basis would be a miscalculation.” According to the report, the current housing design is unsuited to the family size of slum households and another room is absolutely necessary.