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Govt sop for slum-dwellers will boost SRA projects, but lead to increase in slums in Mumbai

While slum-dwellers will stop becoming a hurdle to rehabilitation projects, lure of government houses may lead to new slums being built

mumbai Updated: Dec 21, 2017 23:18 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
MUMBAI,SLUMS,SRA
The state Assembly on Wednesday passed a proposal to regularise slums built after the cut-off date of January 1, 2000.(HT File Photo)

The state government’s move to include slum-dwellers who built hutments after January 1, 2000 in the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and give them homes at subsidised rates has evoked mixed reactions. While it is expected to speed up slum rehabilitation projects, experts said it will also lead to an increase in the number of slums in the city.

The state’s amendment to the Slum Act comes after authorities said slum-dwellers who were ineligible for houses were a large obstacle to slum clearance schemes.

The move will benefit around 3.5 lakh hutments, in which 18 lakh slum-dwellers live. However, unlike the slum-dwellers who built shanties before 2000 and were thus eligible for new homes, these will have to pay the construction cost before they can get possession of their new houses.

Builders and housing activists said the move would speed up the Slum Rehabilitation Authority’s (SRA) schemes. “Ineligible slum dwellers were the SRA’s biggest stumbling block. The move will give them confidence and encourage them to come forward,” said Bhavesh Sanghrajka, CEO, Shraddha Lifescapes.

For years, builders would accommodate ineligible slum dwellers by manipulating the rules, employing strong-arm tactics or paying them off.

Housing activist Ramesh Prabhu said the populist move would boost revamp schemes, but also encourage the construction of new slum pockets. “The state took this step to fulfil its Housing for All goal by 2022. It was important as more than half the population lives in slums,” he said.

Town planners said the move would put a strain on infrastructure. “There is a burden on infrastructure, which will worsen,” said town planner Jeetu Patel.

The SRA scheme started in 1996 has been a slow starter as it has been mired in corruption and host of issues like manipulating slum dwellers, eligible people not making it to the list, fake consents, misleading promises, and inferior quality construction.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 14:24 IST