Nearly 20% of the people interviewed by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) and 200 architecture students of Rachna Sansad Association of Architecture said affordable housing was what the new development plan (DP) should concentrate on.
Of the people surveyed across 10 wards in the city, 15% agreed that health and education were the second-most important issues to be addressed. Nearly 73% of those surveyed said they wanted the government to step in and provide affordable housing.
Surprisingly, 42% of the total respondents found even slums to be an unaffordable option. “This is an indictment of the policies of the consecutive governments, who have been relying on builders to build affordable housing. The builders have obviously failed and so has the government,” said Joshi. The survey also points to a falling trust in state-run and civic health services. As per the survey, almost 60% of the respondents opted for private healthcare in case of any illness.
Dr Wasundhara Joshi from Society for Nutrition Education and Health Action said, “This trend of moving towards private healthcare is worrying and the authorities need to take note of where the public healthcare system has gone wrong.”
Also, the civic body’s DP has failed to live up to its promise of providing adequate open spaces.
When asked if they felt there were enough open spaces near their homes, 60% responded in the negative. Meanwhile, 68% of the respondents weren’t happy with the upkeep of the open spaces around their homes. With the last DP leaving so many sectors critical, experts feel the burden on the new DP to deliver will increase.
“This DP has to first deliver on the deficit of the last one. In addition, it will also have to tackle new problems that have emerged in the past two decades. It’s going to be a tough task,” said Joshi. Responding to criticism about the state’s projects, state chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad said, "Sea link is the only solution for easing traffic congestion in an island city like Mumbai. As far as housing is concerned, rental housing for half a million people is a flagship project of the government."