Congress hands out big-home dreams to Mumbai slum-dwellers
Party workers take Rahul Gandhi's assurance of 500 sq ft homes to slum-dwellers across city through 10 lakh pamphlets
The Congress has, this year, taken its age-old 'roti, kapda, makaan' theme one step ahead. After party head Rahul Gandhi's promise of delivering 500 sq ft homes to slum-dwellers, a battery of workers has been formed to approach slum pockets in Mumbai explaining to them how their life can change substantially if the Congress is voted to power. The party is promising amendments to SRA rules to ensure one BHK homes for slum-dwellers instead of the existing 269 sq ft ones.
According to a party worker, a redeveloped slum unit is currently pegged around Rs 40 lakh, although the sale of such flats is not allowed. However, raising the area of the flat to 500 sq ft will take the value up to Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1 crore, depending on the location.
"A team of party workers will visit slum pockets in the city and explain how the Congress will change their fortunes if voted to power," city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam said.
Gandhi's big promise
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in his Mumbai rally on March 1, had made an announcement in this regard and political analysts believe that the claim can turn out to be a good bait. Gandhi has said that his party will approve this within 10 days of coming to power. Around 10 lakh pamphlets promoting the idea will be handed over to slum dwellers.
"Traditionally, the turnout of slum-dwellers is pegged around 30 to 40 per cent in any election. The North Indian community dominates most of the slum pockets in Mumbai and also forms the core vote bank of the BJP.
The promise of bigger houses may affect this voting pattern and in some constituencies, may even give a tough time to the ruling saffron alliance," Santosh Pradhan, political editor of a Marathi daily, told mid-day. According to government officials, there are around 10.49 lakh slum dwellers in Mumbai and another 1.9 lakh in neighbouring Thane.
What has the SRA achieved?
In 1995, the Afzalpurkar Committee had proposed a scheme to improve the health and hygiene conditions of slum dwellers. Accordingly in 1997, during the Shiv Sena-BJP regime, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) was formed to make the city slum-free. But in over 20 years, not even 15 per cent of the slum redevelopment has been completed.
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