Govt figures show how the slum rehabilitation scheme is moving at snail’s pace, with activists claiming builders are ditching small projects
Slums along the Western Express Highway, between Santacruz and Vakola. Pics/Shadab Khan
The state government is building castles in the air in the name of slum rehabilitation scheme, shows the official figures. Only eight per cent of the slums have been redeveloped in the past 10 financial years. Activists alleged that many projects are stuck, mostly in small pockets, because developers didn’t find them financially viable.
The authorities had redeveloped 1,53,635 houses before the census of 2011, according to the Maharashtra Economic Survey 2022-23, which was recently tabled in the state assembly. The census of 2011 showed that the city had over 11 lakh (11,35,514) houses in the slum settlements across. Thereafter, between 2012-13 and 2022-23, only 91,660 of these houses were redeveloped under the scheme.
In the absence of a current census, there is no updated data on slum houses. The census is conducted every 10 years and one was to be conducted in 2021, but was not done owing to Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Scheme to benefit builders’
Activists have criticised the scheme, alleging that it has only helped the developers and done nothing to improve the lifestyle of the people rehabilitated from the slums.
Shanties near Mahim Causeway, on Sunday
“The slum rehabilitation scheme is beneficial for developers rather than for residents. Therefore, residents are not ready for redevelopment. Also, the buildings constructed so far under the slum rehabilitation scheme are like a vertical slum with no proper ventilation or space,” said civic activist Anil Galgali.
“Slums in small places are not redeveloped as there is no financial benefit for developers. They are only interested in redeveloping slums spread over vast plots and at prime locations,” said activist Santosh Mishra.
“The slum rehabilitation scheme started for the benefit of slum residents. However, only builders are getting the benefit from the project. The quality of construction is also not good. We have seen many projects that are stuck because builders figured that the project is not financially viable,” Mishra added.
Sanjay Gurav, another activist, said the state government increased the area of the redeveloped houses from 225 square feet to just 269 square feet. “The government needs to conduct a survey of the quality and design of the buildings being developed under the slum rehabilitation scheme,” he added.
Constructions in the past 5 years
Year Houses constructed