Bandra, the queen of the suburbs, is so affluent, even a large part of its slumdwellers don’t qualify as below the government-identified poverty line, says a survey by the municipal corporation.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) study found that at least 70 per cent of Bandra’s (West) slum population can be classified as Above Poverty Line (APL), given their ownership of televisions, refrigerators, fans, even telephones, and their per capita income of above Rs 592 a month.
Chembur follows Bandra (W), with nearly 68 per cent of its slum population classified as APL. Also, compared to the last BMC survey (1997-98), there are now fewer Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in Dharavi.
“Compared to slums in Bhandup and Jogeshwari, Dharavi is progressing, increasingly becoming a commercial hub with air-conditioned shops and leather exporters,” said the BMC’s Chief Community Development Officer, Jyoti Pandya.
Civic officials believe it is the acute shortage of low-cost housing in Mumbai that forces many families to live in slums even though they are not poor enough to qualify as BPL. Many of these families own high tech gadgets like iPods, plasma TVs and computers.
The BMC, with the Directorate of Municipal Administration, surveyed 16.7 lakh families in Mumbai’s slum and tribal areas, gaothans, koliwadas and Slum Rehabilitation Authority buildings – and for the first time, BDD chawls too. The survey also included migrant workers who come to the city for seasonal jobs.
In all, 12.02 lakh families – with a per capita income of less than Rs 591.75 (Rs 497 in the last survey), and living without amenities like TV, refrigerator, fan, telephone and indoor toilets – have been identified as BPL.
“The benefits of government schemes like Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojna, Awas Yojna and Suvarna Jayanti Urban Employment Policy can be availed by nearly 1.25 lakh families that fall under the ‘poorest of the poor’ category,” said Pandya.
These select few will be helped by the central government to set up micro enterprises, and will get training, recruitment and employment opportunities.