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Thursday, March 21, 2013

One in every 10 slum dwellings in Mumbai

New Delhi/ Mumbai: New census data shows that India's slum population may be stabilizing, but Maharashtra has a lot to be concerned about. Not only does the state have the biggest slum population, its slums also seem to be in a far worse condition than the rest of India's slums. 

    One-fifth of India's slum population lives in Maharashtra. One in every ten slum-dwelling households in India is from Mumbai. But most worryingly, while slum and non-slum urban households in the rest of India seem to have comparable standards of living, in Maharashtra this is not the case. 
    This is most starkly the case for sanitation. For instance in Kolkata, 96.2% of non-slum urban households have a toilet within the house, and for slum households, this figure is 92%. In Chennai too, over 90% of both non-slum and slum households have a toilet within their homes. But for Maharashtra's million-plus cities, the disparity is stark. 
    While over 75% of nonslum households in Greater Mumbai have a toilet within the premises, just 32% of slum households have the same facility. The only other million-plus cities in India with a worse sanitation situa
tion are other Maharashtra cities – Kalyan-Dombivli, Nashik, Navi Mumbai and Pimpri-Chinchwad. 
    Just 66% of slum households in Greater Mumbai get water within their homes, while this proportion is less than half in Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Over 90% of non-slum households in most these cities get water inside the house. 
    Close to 10% of slum households in most of Maharashtra's million-plus cities live in a house that has no exclusive room – the kitchen, living and sleeping quarters are all part of one room. Delhi, in comparison, this figure is just over 2%. 
    Rajendra Bhise, programme director, Yuva, a voluntary development organisation working for poor and marginalised communities in Mumbai attributes the poor living conditions in slums to 
the 1995 cut-off date imposed by the state government for the recognition of slums. "Slums post-1995 are not given basic amenities such as water or sanitation which has resulted in poor living conditions. Even Delhi gives land tenure to its slum dwellers till 2009," he says, adding that the Census data reflect the fact that the Maharashtra government has given priority to real estate development over affordable housing. 
    Moreover, the state and industry have turned their backs on their obligation to provide affordable housing, says Bhise. 
    Dr RA Potdar of the Centre for the Study of Social Change which works in the slums of Bandra (E), one of the most sprawling informal settlements in Mumbai says that their cramped existence poses major health hazards including reproductive and urinary problems for slumdwellers.

Just 66% of slum households in Greater Mumbai get water in their homes


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