Maharashtra government may not be able to make Mumbai slum-free by 2022 | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra government may not be able to make Mumbai slum-free by 2022

Mumbai city news: The first step —physical mapping of all slums and recording details of all slum dwellers—has been delayed inordinately.

mumbai Updated: Jul 14, 2017 01:20 IST
Manasi Phadke
According to the state housing department, with the help of the state-run MahaOnline, the government has so far surveyed 363 slum clusters covering 1.42 lakh hutments.
According to the state housing department, with the help of the state-run MahaOnline, the government has so far surveyed 363 slum clusters covering 1.42 lakh hutments.(File)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government is lagging far behind its ambitious target of making Mumbai slum-free by 2022.

The first step —physical mapping of all slums and recording details of all slum dwellers—has been delayed inordinately.

The state government took up the arduous task of mapping the estimated seven lakh slums on land under the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) jurisdiction in mid-2015, with a strict deadline of wrapping up the exercise within six months.

However, two years on, the government has managed to survey just about 20% of the total slums.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reviewed the exercise along with other housing projects on Monday and instructed the slum rehabilitation authority (SRA) to speed up the process.

Read more: Slum-free Mumbai? Maharashtra CM must’ve heard it before

The idea behind the survey is to accurately map all slum structures on 3,307 hectares using global positioning systems and light detection and ranging to determine slum boundaries and get biometric details of its residents.

With this, the Fadnavis-led government hopes to record the eligibility of all slum dwellers for free housing under the SRA scheme.

With the eligibility finalised, the government wants to swiftly take up slum clusters for redevelopment and avoid crucial time lost on getting developers to make the eligibility list.

According to the state housing department, with the help of the state-run MahaOnline, the government has so far surveyed 363 slum clusters covering 1.42 lakh hutments. Of these, 28 clusters are in Mumbai’s island city, 136 in the eastern suburbs and 199 in the western suburbs.

An official from the state housing department said, the state government needs to do more to create awareness about the survey for people to cooperate with the surveyors.

Read more: Housing minister proposes bigger houses and free parking lots for Mumbai slum dwellers

“Often, slum dwellers are scared about giving their information fearing the surveyors are from some private agency, or that they might lose their chance of getting free housing. The government has not done enough to publicise and create awareness about the survey among slum dwellers,” he said.

He said a shortage of competent land surveyors, confusion over which government agency some plots come under, lack of authorisation to survey structures on the Central government and forest land, and opposition from private landowners of slum clusters hamper the survey process.

Under the state’s SRA scheme, private developers house slum dwellers living in structures built before January 2000 on a portion of the plot the slum occupies.

As an incentive, builders are granted a high floor space index—the ratio of the permissible built-up area to the plot area—and are allowed to commercially exploit the remaining land for free.

Launched two decades ago, the scheme has been a laggard, barely managing to rehabilitate a little over 1.5 lakh families until now.

Read more: Maharashtra govt plans to give more power to SRA for slum-free state