Housing for the Urban Poor – the Slum & JJ Clusters

Date: 10th September, 2013                                                                                   Gloria Ganguly

Housing requirements for the urban poor of the city continues to be the single biggest challenge and would require a mix of approaches and innovative solutions.

The Rehabilitation/Relocation of Slum & JJ Clusters

The present three-fold strategy of relocation from areas in which the existing squatter settlements are concerned, that required for public purpose, the in-situ up-gradation at other sites to be selected on the basis of specific parameters and environmental up-gradation to basic minimum standards shall be allowed as a short-term measure. Rest of the clusters should be continued, till they are covered by either of the first two components of the strategy.

Sites and services approach based relocation was employed in which resettlement of squatter slums was done on 18 sqm and 12.5sqm. Plots allotted to eligible persons on license basis, during the plan period of 1981-2001. This has led to a number of aberrations. There are several aspects, due to which this approach needs to be increasingly abandoned and substituted by an alternate approach. Elaborating further, this alternate approach should have the following components:

  • Resettlement, whether in the form of relocation or in-situ up-gradation, rather than on the model of horizontal plotted development, it should be based mainly on built up accommodation with common areas and facilities of around 25 sq. m.
  • As a resource land should be adopted to develop such accommodation with private sector participation and investment, to the extent possible.
  • Development Rights transfer should be provided.
  • Co-operative resettlement model with adequate safeguards may be adopted with tenure rights being provided through the institution of Co-operative Societies.
  • Accommodation provision should be based on cost with suitable arrangements for funding / financing, keeping in view the aspect of affordability and capacity to pay.
  • In cases of relocation, the sites should be identified with a view to develop relatively small clusters in a manner that they can be integrated with the overall planned development of the area, keeping in view the availability of employment avenues in the vicinity. Large resettlement sites could lead to a phenomenon of planned slums.
  • Suitable arrangement for temporary transit accommodation for families to be rehabilitated should be made. This may be near or at the same site and the utilization of these may be synchronized with the phases of implementation of the scheme of in-situ up-gradation.
  • The CBOs (Community Based Organizations) and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) should be closely involved in the resettlement process.
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