Houses for poor not enough to make Bhopal slum-free: Study

  • Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Oct 05, 2015 17:47 IST

The number of houses being constructed for impoverished people by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation will be inadequate to make the city slum-free, a pilot study on public expenditure shows.

Commissioned by Investment Watch--a civil society initiative to analyse and monitor public expenditure on the urban poor--the study has revealed that a total of 13,369 houses have been constructed at 11 sites by the BMC in the last 10 years, falls far short of the requirement to Bhopal a slum-free city as conceived under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY).

The study conducted by Samarthan, a voluntary agency has revealed that schemes under the basic services for the urban poor, was provided by Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

“The study aims to track public sector spending on the poor and assess the impact of the spending,” said Chandan Chawla of Samarthan.

According to the study, a total of 13,369 dwellings have been constructed at 11 sites by the BMC in last 10 years, averaging 1336 dwellings per year.

The detailed project reports of 4 slums have been prepared under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) but only one is under construction.

According to the slum-free city development plan prepared by RAY, Bhopal needs build 12,000 units per year between 2012 and 2016. The city will need 8,000 units per year under the economically weaker section of the society. This number will increase to 11,000 units per year by 2021.

Bhopal is one of the few cities in the country to have a pro-poor budget since 2011, the study found.

During 2013-14, the city spent accounted for per capita capital expenditure of Rs 5,389 and per capita revenue expenditure of Rs 2,004 based on a slum population of 6,50,970.

However, the housing stock being provided under various schemes falls far short of the requirement, the study found.

“Securing participation of beneficiaries has been a challenge in housing schemes for the poor. If the scheme had flexibility wherein entire slums could be shifted to new locations, attaining the target of slum-free city would have been less challenging,” said commissioner, BMC, Tejaswi Naik.

Analysis of data of buildings constructed in the city for the past 3-4 years, revealed that maintenance of the houses by those living in them was low.

The poor inhabitants had no access to funds for such living and were hence unable to organise cleaning or other maintenance works.

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