Skip to main content

Mumbai authorities "ignore" livelihood issues in new "affordable" housing offer, large-scale slum eviction feared

By Our Representative
Two well-known Mumbai-based non-profits working among the city's urban poor, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan (GBGBA) and Habitat and Livelihood Welfare Association (HLWA), have alleged that "thousands of housing of poor in Mumbai are under threat of eviction" following the "much hyped" decision of the authorities to come up with the Development Plan or DP 2034.
Released by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), one of its main features is claimed to be the intention to create "affordable housing stock to address the problem of housing paucity for the poor in the city."
However, GBGBA-HLWA, in a statement, say that "the definition of affordability is merely based on two parameters -- size and cost", though actually "affordability in real sense of the term needs to be defined in terms of cost, tenement size, livability, sustainability and adequacy."
According to GBGBA-HLWA, "Construction or redevelopment of new buildings is not the only means by which affordable housing can be attained. Rather up-gradation and retrofitting of slums are also a means of achieving it."
The non-profits add, "It is very important to ensure that the share of land for the poor in the city does not further shrink. This is of utmost importance when approximately 42% of the city's population lives in slums."
Say GBGBA-HLWA, "The houses currently available (both by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority or MHADA and private sector) under the affordable housing segment out-prices not just the lower income group (LIG) and economically weaker sections (EWS) but the middle income group (MIG) category too."
Believes GBGBA-HLWA, "The prevalent minimum price for housing under the affordable housing segment is such that it excludes a huge chunk of the population to take benefits of this feature of DP 2034. These exclusionary practices make the poorest of poor citizen of the city perpetually vulnerable to demolition of their self-built housing/hutments."
"For instance", the non-profits point out, "A huge settlement of poor comprising of 600 household in Cheeta Camp near Trombay is scheduled to be demolished in the first week of May this year. All the residents of this settlement possess ration card which record their annual income less than Rs 1 lakh."
They add, "None of the housing in the present affordable housing segment is available either in Mumbai or the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) can be availed by persons belonging to this income category. In the foreseeable future therefore we see homelessness on the rise due to anticipated demolitions."
Noting that "affordable housing is not the only solution to address the problem of housing", GBGBA-HLWA say, "Housing built under affordable housing scheme most of the time ends up serving merely as an asset and not the housing solution."
Underlining that "housing cannot be looked in complete isolation, it is very much linked with livelihood", the non-profits say,"Given high value of in the city most of the affordable housing has been constructed in the fringes of MMR region which adds to the drudgery of travelling work place and daily affair adding increased health spending and high stress levels."
This apart, GBGBA-HLWA say, there is "not much clarity on the accompanying infrastructure which is necessary to absorb the pressure due to increased floor space index (FSI)." They add, "The maximum FSI of 5 granted for commercial purposes and 4 for residential purposes will create huge burden on the already congested city."
Contend GBGBA-HLWA, "Increasing FSI for redevelopment of Bombay Development Department BDD chawls will again start re-congesting the island city. With no proper arrangements for infrastructures like parking, water facilities etc., the quality of life is bound to deteriorate."
"In the garb of creating affordable housing stock, non-development zones and salt pans are being converted to special development zone to allow entry of real estate led exploitation of these eco-sensitive areas", say GBGBA-HLWA, adding, "While on the other hand, in the absence of a practical plan, the space for the poorest of the poor in the city still remain a question amidst claims for sabka sath sabka vikas."

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
In today's ToI it is mentioned that the area for affordable housing is not specified. The builders will take advantage which, I suppose, is the purpose of the whole exercise. After all, the government has to think of state elections next year

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Report on "torture" in Kashmir jails: 44% detainees stripped naked, 29% electrocuted

Counterview Desk
A recent report titled “Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir”, published by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has claimed to build “on the body of human rights documentation on torture” in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through an examination of 432 case studies. It seeks to focus on "the trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, contexts and impact of torture" in the state.

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).