Include slums in development plan, demand activists

NGO cites study to claim discrimination in allotment of housing reservation

After BMC served demolition notices to 400 houses along Malvani-Marve Road in Malad Monday, urban planners and activists reiterated a long-pending demand Tuesday to include slums in the development plan (DP) of the city.

The demand was made at a day-long convention to discuss inclusion of the urban poor in the DP being prepared by the civic administration.

The plan will map all amenities and land use in the city for the next 20 years. Most, 70 per cent, people in the city lived in poorly planned settlements that did not have playgrounds, schools or hospitals, said Mohan Chavhan, member of Shahar Vikas Manch. Aravind Unni, architect-planner with Yuva, cited a study by the NGO in P/North ward that includes Malvani slums.

"The development plan in P/North ward has failed. An analysis of settlement patterns in this ward reveals discrimination in allotment of housing reservations. Housing reservations favour private development in well-off localities with provision for better infrastructure, while those for the urban poor are not serviced and clubbed into faraway inaccessible areas," he said.

The study reveals execution of public housing scheme in the ward is only 58 per cent and 90 per cent of the scheme is concentrated in Malvani. Areas other than Malvani and Bhoomi Park are relatively free of public housing. This suggests bias in DP.

"Why do the poor have to live in far corners of the city. They live in slums on hill tops or near flood-prone areas."

In case of housing for dishoused, only .01 per cent of the scheme has been implemented. About 79 per cent of the reservation for housing for dishoused has been crowded into the eastern section of the ward, adjoining the national park.

While resettlement has been carried out, no development has happened in the area, states the report. RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, who released the report, said, "BMC should systematically reserve all amenities for the urban poor. Housing is not the only basic need but a good quality of life should be provided by making reservations for playgrounds, schools, health units in slums and housing for dishoused."

Findings of survey for P/North ward

1,126 acres: Area of informal settlements in the ward that includes Malvani villages, Malvani, Bhoomi Park, Evershine Nagar, Malad West and Malad East

9,58,000: Population

6,70,600: Population in informal settlements

10 per cent: Area occupied by informal settlements that house about 70 per cent of population

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