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Slum-free Chandigarh a distant dream

The soon-to-be smart city is home to 10 slums even as 4,960 flats built in Maloya two years ago continue to wait for occupants due to a lazy MC and a legal glitch.

punjab Updated: Sep 26, 2018 11:53 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,Chandigarh administration,slum-free
It is learnt that it will take at least three months for the work to be completed as 400 metres of land on which sewer pipes are to be laid is under litigation in the apex court. (HT Photo)

Even though the Chandigarh administration had set a deadline of March 2017 to make Chandigarh a slum-free city, 60 acres continue to be occupied by 8000 slum-dwellers in 10 colonies. Meanwhile, the 4,960 flats built by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) under a slum rehabilitation scheme at Maloya are yet to be allotted as the Municipal Corporation has not completed the sewage treatment plant (STP), which it was allotted five years ago.

It is learnt that it will take at least three months for the work to be completed as 400 metres of land on which sewer pipes are to be laid is under litigation in the apex court.

In a shambles

The buildings are paying for MC’s laxity. In the past two years, most of the window panes have been broken, while taps, water meters, manhole covers and parts of firefighting system have gone missing. Ramesh, a security guard, says the apartments have become a den of crime as youngsters from nearby colonies come here to take drugs. Once they even stabbed a guard, he said.

The construction of the flats began in June 2014 at a cost of 250 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to hand over the flat keys to the allottees in May this year, but couldn’t do so as the project was incomplete. The allottees will have to pay 1,000 as licence fee every month for 20 years after which they will pay the balance to get the ownership of the flat.

New slums

Meanwhile, new slums continue to proliferate in the city as the enforcement wing of the MC looks the other way. Last year, there were plans to conduct intensive drives to remove the colonies, rehabilitate the dwellers and get the government land freed from encroachers, but there is little change on the ground. The city is home to several big colonies such as Colony No 4, Janta Colony, Guru Sagar Colony in Maloya, Sanjay Colony, Industrial Area, Phase 1 and Rajiv Colony in Sector 38.

Till 2006, there were 18 colonies in the city, but after the UT administration razed eight of them, there are only 10 left with around 8000 jhuggis at the last count though their number is said to be higher.

Slow on schemes

But the administration has no plans to rehabilitate these slum-dwellers and clear the land. Records show that it is yet to submit the in-situ slum rehabilitation (ISSR) component of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Urban) despite the potential for rehabilitating 0.22 lakh slum households as per the census conducted in 2011.

In February this year, minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had urged the UT administration to expedite allotment of the sanctioned houses and fast-track proposals for additional demands. In all, 5,170 houses constructed under various schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) are still unoccupied and urgent steps must be taken to ensure their occupation, he had said.

The Chandigarh administration had indicated a demand for about 12,900 houses under PMAY. It is yet to submit any proposal even though it needs to fast-track proposal for about 12,887 houses to meet its entire demand by 2017-18.

Resettlement

Chandigarh Housing Board is the nodal body for the construction of rehabilitation colonies. So far, it has built 12,736 of the total 25,728 flats proposed for slum-dwellers. Of these, around 12,000 were built in Sector 38(W), Sector 49, Dhanas, Mauli Jagran–II and Ram Darbar. The remaining are yet to be completed. The administration rehabilitates slum-dwellers after conducting a biometric survey. The colonies resettled in the last ten years include Colony No 5, Nehru Colony, Kuldeep Colony and Mazdoor Colony.

First Published: Sep 26, 2018 11:53 IST