That’s what the Forbes calls us in this awesome article about Transparent Chennai’s collaboration with citizens and government officials, and the use of paper maps, data and open-source digital technology to bring much-needed attention to problems in urban governance in Chennai.
Interventions by Transparent Chennai to create data for change and to increase the ward councillor’s accountability has led to better services in a slum. Mint reports on our activities in the Kalyanapuram slum.
The slums team at Transparent Chennai is supporting the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) in preparing a report for the State Planning Commission to assess the impact of all kinds of interventions into slums in the city. The goal is to identify the strengths and weaknesses in each approach – be it in situ development or relocation – to make possible recommendations to the government on future interventions. This study becomes relevant against the backdrop of schemes like the JnNURM and the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), through which crores of rupees have been made available for developing housing and basic services for the urban poor.
We at Transparent Chennai have been working on 3 case studies
1) In situ slum development at Sastri Nagar, Pulianthope
Sastri Nagar in Pulianthope was once vacant land occupied by people from different parts of Chennai. Under the Slum Improvement Programme (SIP) and as a part of MUDP part 1, Sastri Nagar was one of 77 slums that were developed in situ by the TNSCB. The 530 beneficiaries received Rs. 6,000 to build their houses. Basic services such as sewerage connections, roads, water, etc. were also installed.
2) In situ tenements on Ekambaram Pillai Street and Munusamy Pillai Street, Ambedkar Paalam, Mylapore
The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board built tenements with water and sanitation facilities for residents of slums on Ekambaram Pillai Street and Munuswamy Pillai Street in the Ambedkar Paalam area. People got these tenements on lottery basis. Those who did not get houses in the tenements were given measured plots within the site to build their houses.
3) Sites and services at Muthamizh Nagar, Kodungaiyur
Muthamizh Nagar in Kodungaiyur which was developed by TNHB as part of the Sites and Services scheme is an integrated site with water connections and toilet facilities. About 70% of the houses on the site are for those belonging to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
Preliminary observations from the field visit:
Among the three sites we studied, the Sites and Services project at Kodungaiyur alone was a relocation scheme: people from various parts of the city moved to this area. Most of the residents whom I spoke to said that owning a house was a dream come true for them. This scheme, which gave people plots with sewerage and toilet facilities, also allowed people to build houses as per their requirements as and when they can afford it. In addition to the land, people were also given loans to build their homes, which were very helpful because they might not have met the requirements of a bank in order to take a loan at that time, when they only possessed an allotment letter and did not own a fully built house against which they could take a loan. Since people have built their homes, paid their full dues and obtained sale deeds, they are now eligible for bank loans, and have become creditworthy.
The huts in Sastri Nagar, Pulianthope were developed as-is-where-is, and people were provided with Rs. 6000 to build their houses. Most people I spoke to said that this sum of money was insufficient to build a house, and had to additionally borrow money from lenders. The houses measure 10×8 and look very cramped; however, most people have managed to build first and second floors for their own use, or for rental income. Moreover, from the interviews we also found out that almost no one in Sastri Nagar possesses a sale deed due to incomplete payment of dues. Most people also do not know how to go about obtaining one (although five people have somehow managed it), and thus are unable to take loans against their houses.
The tenements in Ambedkar Paalam also measure 10×8, but there is no scope for expansion of the house. At first, the houses had individual water connections, but later, the connections became defunct. Hence now, people have to draw water from the common water pumps on the ground floor. Residents living in the top floors are facing a difficulty of climbing up and down with pots of water every day. Aged people also find it tough. Pattamma, a 60 year old resident of this area recently moved from her tenement in the 4th floor to a shack in the area for rent as she was finding it hard to climb up and down the stairs. None of the people here have obtained their sale deeds, as they are all still paying their dues. They feel that the individual plots given to people who lost the lottery are much better than the tenements as there is a scope for customization and expansion of the houses, and the potential to get an individual water pump per house.
From my observations and interviews so far, beneficiaries of the Sites and Services scheme seem to be doing better than people in other sites in terms of upward mobility. The site has witnessed tremendous development with land costs going up multifold since the scheme. The children of many of the residents we spoke to possess college degrees and are now in salaried employment in private companies. Sale deeds have given people tenure security as well as financial security. Though this is a relocation scheme, it was voluntary, so there was none of the trauma associated with forced relocation. This suggests that relocation itself is not a bad idea. It depends on who benefits from it (in this case, tenants who voluntarily moved here), and how the site is developed: whether it provides access to basic services, good education and livelihoods, etc.
Under RAY, it is important to plan slum development programmes depending on the pros and cons, and successes and failures of past schemes, which is what we attempt to do in this study. These are only preliminary observations and analyses: an examination of all the completed case studies, as well as case studies from elsewhere in the country and the world, will throw more light on what type of recommendations can be made to the government on future programmes in slums.
Written by Aishwarya Balasubramanian, researcher, Transparent Chennai
No slum in Chennai has been officially recognized in the last 28 years, resulting in a gross lack of basic services for slum dwellers. Researchers Nithya V. Raman ad Priti Narayan write about this invisible population and the government’s inadequate and unviable response to this crisis, in this op-ed published in The Hindu.
Over 75% of funds provided to the city of Chennai under the JnNURM’s “Basic Services for the Urban Poor” component went towards constructing houses in Perumbakkam, a resettlement colony on the outskirts of the city located near the existing resettlement colony of Semmenchery. Members of the Transparent Chennai team along with architects Shilesh Hariharan and Roshan Toshniwal (who also works with us on transport and heritage issues) visited the Perumbakkam site on August 31, and spoke with an engineer there to gauge the progress of the project and to learn more about the government’s plans. This post is a summary of the findings from our visit.
The plan is to build 20,376 units in 158 blocks with 8 floors each. About 6,000 units have been built so far. This is the first time that the Slum Clearance Board is building high-rises, and the Board seems to be experimenting with designs, correcting faults from earlier designs in later buildings. Unfortunately, some residents of Perumbakkam will still have to live in the early faulty buildings.
Currently, there are two kinds of buildings. In the first, the stairs run around the lifts, of which there are two at the center of every floor. This is a fire hazard: in case of fire, the lift will act as a duct, and people will not be able to use the stairs. Moreover, the stairs are narrow (about 2.5 feet wide), too narrow for the number of people on each floor according to the architects who visited the site. Each floor has 24 units, twelve on each side of the lift and stairs. Although the team visited during the day, lighting and ventilation in the long hallway were very poor, with only two windows, each on either end of the hall. Units in this first type of building were slightly larger, with 390 sq ft plinth area.
Some of these issues were corrected in the second type of building. Stairs are separate from the lift. In order to better ventilate the building, there are open-to-sky spaces in the corridors outside of each home. The shared spaces (corridors and stairs) are wider, but the houses are smaller, spanning only 310 sq. ft. Despite the open-to-sky spaces, ventilation and lighting continues to remain poor. The architects noted that such open-to-sky spaces could be closed off by residents after occupation, and so may not serve their intended purpose.
Because of the persistent ventilation and lighting concerns, new buildings that are to be built will now be half the width of the buildings built so far, with 12 apartments on every floor rather than 24. This means that the number of units in each building will be 96 rather than 192.
About 75-80% of “development works” have been completed: these include water networks and sewerage lines. They plan to expand the sewage treatment plant in Semmenchery to accommodate Perumbakkam residents, but have not received any bids on the tender for expansion. They also plan to hire an NGO for garbage collection. Water supply will come from Veeranam, as in Semmenchery. There are plans to build a 5-acre bus terminus, but until bus services are functional, residents will have to rely on Semmenchery buses. Schools will be built over the next 6 months. A PHC, police station, post offices and ration shops will be constructed, but only upon request by residents.
The project is being directly reviewed by the Chief Secretary, GoTN. The Board will be responsible for maintenance for 10 to 15 years, and maintenance costs are being included in the cost of the project. Perumbakkam is not in the Corporation. It is a village panchayat in Sholinganallur Taluk, Kanchipuram district. Roads will be laid by the panchayat. This is significant because of reports from residents in Kannagi Nagar that services only improved after it came under the control of the Corporation.
Tentative date of start of occupancy at the site is November 1. The first set of intended beneficiaries of the tenements is likely to constitute those affected by the Cooum project, Buckingham Canal and other waterway projects. Chennai Corporation is responsible for enumerating beneficiaries and doing biometric identification for them. Those displaced from roadsides and as part of the CMRL project are also on the list. There were about 3000 squatters on the Perumbakkam site before they were removed for the work on the project. About 319 of these families were rehabilitated in Semmencherry, while the rest will be allotted tenements in Perumbakkam. (They now live in nearby areas).
The monthly dues towards ownership of the houses are likely to be of the order of Rs. 250.
Written by Priti Narayan, researcher, Transparent Chennai
Photographs by Roshan Toshniwal, researcher, Transparent Chennai
The recent housing policy Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) envisions slum free cities by 2020. The policy requires that all the slums in a city be surveyed and mapped, before plans are made for the development of these slums. Enough has been written on this blog about how, despite the emphasis on community participation in the guidelines of the RAY, surveying is nearly complete in Chennai slums with no involvement from the people whatsoever. For instance, see here and here. Guidelines also state that people can create plans for their own slums and submit these to the government for implementation. Every time we urge people at our outreach meetings to seize this opportunity to improve their neighbourhoods, they in turn ask us how they could possibly make plans, and whether we could help them create one.
This is how we came up with the idea of a slum community mapping manual, using which people can map their own slums and represent themselves to the government to demand services under the RAY. With the help of interns Nidhi Subramanyam and Anna Alberts, we have come up with a toolkit that is simple and intuitive without relying on technology. The end product of this toolkit would be a set of hand drawn maps created through participatory processes that are up to scale, meeting all of RAY’s requirements. (Watch this space for more blogposts on how the manual was actually created). The toolkit would also enable residents to have structured and informed conversations about what local resources are required and where they could be located.
Recently we conducted a pilot of the toolkit at a slum in Nungambakkam. This slum is now facing the threat of eviction because part of the slum sits on a defunct storm water drain that the Corporation of Chennai now wants to revive. At an opportunity we got to talk about RAY and its emphasis on in situ development of slums, we pitched the idea of the mapping exercise. Both the people at the meeting and our partner organisation that works in the area were very enthusiastic about the possibility, and recognised that the maps could be a useful tool to fight against evictions.
After a meeting with the organisation to discuss the various steps of the meeting, and two more meetings with the community at the end of which the consent of the residents was sought, mapping work commenced. Things were initially very smooth, with people patiently answering all our questions and enthusiastically participating in the participatory processes… until the nearly-final stage of creating the various layers of basic facilities in the slum.
Chaos ensued as some of the attendees did not want to participate in an exercise whose outputs will ultimately go to the government. Distrust of the government is understandable, especially after all these years of eviction threats and government hostility in general. But what was surprising was that this objection came up so late into the process – after three outreach meetings and at least 30 people signing their consent for the mapping process! One of the residents even thought we were going to be giving away pattas (land title documents) and Rs. 1.5 lakh to every house as part of the initiative! If only we could!
Although we tried to convince the people that the maps will only be a tool to strengthen demands for in situ development of the slum by the government, it was in vain. Ultimately it was only when a member of our partner community organisation, who also resides in the slum, suddenly appeared on the scene and explained the objectives that peace – and hopefully, faith in the process – was restored. We were lucky to get most of our work done before chaos broke out, but all things considered, that meeting had definitely been derailed.
The pilot taught us a number of things. Firstly, that no matter how many outreach meetings one held before beginning the process, it is important to reiterate the objectives – and the limitations – of the exercise to people at each interaction. Second, it was underscored that we could not take on the task of mobilising the community, because no city resident is going to trust someone who has been working in their neighbourhood for only a week. It is absolutely essential to have a member of the NGO/CBO present during every step of the mapping process. Most of all, the meeting reminded us that all public meetings are volatile spaces where despite our best intentions, things may not go as planned.
This also raised larger questions about the role of NGOs and CBOs in slum areas, and about community participation in general. What, in the eyes of the government, constitutes community participation, and who is to make this happen at the individual slum level? What is the right way to obtain consent from a community, and how much consent is enough consent? What does the government expect from NGOs and CBOs? What results can they achieve, and can they all achieve similar results?
“Community participation” is a complicated affair in practice. It cannot be achieved simply by throwing a process, a CBO, and the community together. We are now working on hosting the final meeting in the slum to discuss the final maps, and starting the mapping process in a new neighbourhood soon. Meanwhile, we are also trying to recruit a student corps to take the work forward. More updates soon!
Transparent Chennai was recently invited by the Information Resource Centre for Urban Deprived Communities (IRCDUC) to provide training on slum policy and the implementation of the JnNURM and Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), to their community trainers in Madurai and Coimbatore.
It was a chance for TC to share with a new audience what we have learned about the spirit of these schemes and what they set out to do, and how both the JNNURM and the RAY have been implemented in Chennai so far. But this training also turned out to be an opportunity for us to learn, from residents themselves, about how differently schemes are implemented from city to city, even when many of the same institutions are involved.
What was striking was the completely different approach taken to the survey of slums under the RAY in these cities compared to Chennai. RAY guidelines clearly state that the community must be involved in the surveying and mapping processes. According to the Central government, NGOs and CBOs (Community-Based Organizations) must be consulted in the preparation of the list of slums, demarcation of slum boundaries, identification of vacant land, and rough mapping of slums. At the end of the surveying and mapping, the compiled information from the slum must be ratified by members of the community and by CBOs.
As we have written before, this process is not being followed in Chennai. A private consultant Darashaw is undertaking the surveying and mapping of the slums in Chennai. After the surveys have been completed, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board has organized meetings where councilors and MLAs from each zone are invited, and the list of slums from each ward is presented. The elected representatives are then given the opportunity to point to missing slums. While early meetings included details on the number of families surveyed in each of these slums, and the proposed plan of action for each slum under the RAY, the recent meeting held in Zone 14 did not include this information. The Slum Clearance Board has not yet presented the survey findings to the community at large. People across the city continue to remain in the dark about why surveying is done, and fear that any enumeration activity will lead to an eviction. In fact, some slums have resisted enumeration precisely for this reason.
In contrast, it was heartening to see that the processes followed in Madurai and Coimbatore are closer to the process recommended by the RAY guidelines. According to the attendees of our training programme, the surveys in all Coimbatore slums involved an NGO. Teams formed by members of Arivoli Iyakkam – an NGO that I was told has a presence in most slums of the city, Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) officials and Corporation officials, along with members of the community completed the surveying process. The list of slums and households prepared by this group was then ratified by the respective ward councilor. In Madurai too, college students collaborated with self-help groups from each slum to complete the survey. In areas without self-help groups, the Slum Clearance Board itself completed the survey.
One wonders: why could a similar process not be followed in Chennai as well? Despite the presence of strong NGOs operating in at least some parts of the city, the TNSCB and the consultants have not engaged them in the surveying process. Community members aside, even local councillors were often not aware of the ongoing RAY survey in their wards. People are continuing to panic about enumeration in their areas, especially in light of the Cooum River Restoration Project, and the unoccupied tenements in Perumbakkam. The Board may not have the capacity to survey slums in a city as large as Chennai, and that may explain the hiring of a consultant for the purpose. But did the existence of a consultant prevent the Board from following a more consultative process in the surveying?
As for the training programme in Madurai, our partners informed us that the attendees appreciated the session. A committee on the RAY has also been formed in Coimbatore as a result, and further training on the RAY is likely to be scheduled. Watch this space for updates!
Written by Priti Narayan, researcher, Transparent Chennai
Members from the Transparent Chennai team attended the public consultation on the Cooum River Restoration Project on 13th June 2013 at the PWD Office in Chepauk. The Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT) had appointed LKS Group from Spain to come up with a plan to restore the Cooum River. The meeting began with a presentation that described the project, identified problems, and proposed solutions. This was followed by a Q&A session, where members of the public could raise questions and express concerns.
For the most part, the brief presentation by the LKS team consisted of context-less pictures showing pollution along and in the river, location of slums on the flood plain, and proposed solutions for sewage and garbage disposal with parks and cycling tracks for the public. Three solutions were proposed for slums along the river – in-situ rehabilitation, rehabilitation within the same radius, or resettlement at a faraway location (in case the other alternatives were not viable). However, the presentation did not include detailed findings from studies or surveys with information like total project cost, percentage of slums that fall under flood-prone areas, or details of slums that could be rehabilitated in-situ and those that would have to be resettled.
Public opinion ranged from environmental concerns to concerns about measures to rehabilitate the affected slum dwellers; the need to prevent pollution of the river caused by sewage disposal; the need for measures to deal with vector-borne diseases; the lack of clarity on the expenditure on and the timeline of the project; and concerns about co-ordination between various government agencies in the implementation of the project. While a few people welcomed the idea of having a beautiful riverfront similar to Singapore and London, most people present at the meeting were concerned about the seeming inevitability of large-scale displacement of slum dwellers.
Many slum dwellers expressed support for clean-up of the river but voiced concerns about its effects on the lives of people living in informal settlements along the river. The recent history of slum policies in the city suggests that their concerns are valid: though the project charted out three solutions for affected informal settlements along the river, the third option of relocation has been the one most frequently adopted in recent times. Although there are schemes like the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) that prioritize in-situ rehabilitation, the TNSCB has not implemented an in-situ slum improvement project in Chennai in many years. Many slum dwellers are daily wage laborers, or work in the informal sector. Relocating them to far-flung resettlement colonies such as Kannagi Nagar, Semmencheri, etc. (which are ironically, also susceptible to flooding) can destroy their livelihoods. Moreover, when people are relocated, the houses that they are allotted have historically had very poor living conditions, with limited access to basic services especially when they are first moved. Hence, members of the public insisted that the project must not rely on the relocation option.
Louis Menezes, a former IAS officer who once headed the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, pointed out that there is evidence to show that Metrowater is largely responsible for discharge of sewage into the river. He referenced a study conducted many years ago that found that the government is responsible for approximately 90% of the sewage outflow into the river, but pointed out that the Government has not taken any measures to stop its own pollution. He also claimed that the bigger institutions and companies that have encroached upon the banks of the river,and might also be contributors of pollution are usually untouched. Instead, slum dwellers are often erroneously assumed to be the main cause of pollution, and this has often been used as an excuse to evict them.
Attendees at the consultation also asserted that by not advertising the public consultation adequately, and by holding the meeting at a location that was far away from the affected sites, the public consultation was cooptation in disguise. The meeting did not include many of the residents from the river banks who would actually be affected by this project. There was only limited representation from community groups and NGOs, who spoke on behalf of the affected persons. Although this project would involve multiple government agencies like Metrowater, Corporation, and the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, their representatives were also not present to answer public queries. There was also no time for the public to reflect on the details presented and revert with questions.
Unfortunately, when pressed for various project details, the consultants didn’t have answers to most questions that were raised but promised to revert with details, and make available project details at their office. The consultants said that as the project included many components, it was unable to provide cost estimates at this stage.
To us, as observers of the event, it seemed that the project proposal lacked a true public purpose as the focus was not on providing necessary services to those who live on the river banks such as water and sewerage connections, transportation to schools and places of work, health facilities, etc. Paths for walking and cycling and landscaped parks are important civic amenities, but they are not the most urgent current needs of city residents.
With all the allegations of the government being responsible for polluting the Cooum, and squandering away public money for beautification projects, we need clear details before we will actually see clear waters in the Cooum.
Economic and Political Weekly, 45, 21.
Written by Nidhi Subramanyam and Diana Evangeline, interns, Transparent Chennai
What is the precise meaning and the implications of term “informal”? – this is one of the questions that kept cropping up during a workshop called Paradigm shifts in housing: informality and incremental housing in Delhi, organised by micro Home Solutions and the Centre for Policy Research. Turns out, there are too many answers. The debate on this issue was intense, sometimes circuitous, and almost always came back to the issue of how citizenship, access to services and finance were linked to land ownership, title and super-secure tenure. One of the few things that remained constant through the debate was the fact that although the informal sector contributes massively to the economy of cities, they live between the interstices of the law, with poorly defined rights and hopelessly inadequate access to services.
On the one hand, Rahul Srivastav and Matias Echanove from URBZ confronted this debate by throwing it out altogether. They rejected the dichotomy between the formal and the informal, argued cities were incredibly complex and that settlements were impossible to define. On the other hand, others argued that skirting around the issue was not a constructive way to approach the question of informality, and that informal settlements had to be brought under some formal governance system. Moreover, what is considered to be formal – adhering to rules and regulations – is often not purely formal. Rules are pliant, blind eyes are turned and dubious transactions occur almost routinely in the corridors of power. Summarising the debate into three neat positions – accept, ignore or support, which served as a convenient analytical framework but did not ultimately address the question at hand.
The sessions at the conference were on themes ranging from access to municipal services, inclusive development and decentralised solutions to innovation, microfinance and disaster preparedness in slums and informal settlements. These sessions illustrated that answers to this debate are not in definitions themselves, but in their implications. For instance, the session on microfinance made clear that even though there were a slew of schemes targeting the urban poor, all of them require primary collateral: the ownership of land or property. Access to basic services like water and sewerage also seemed to be contingent on this. Transparent Chennai’s workshop on subsidised water and sewerage connections for the economically weaker sections revealed that households had to have some rights over the land and property to be eligible for the scheme.
The title of the conference suggested that the alternative to large scale resettlement colonies may be in incremental housing and self construction. While this may be one strategy to “address” the “informal”, I think that this shift must also include a commitment to divorce or delink municipal services from land and property rights.
Written by Vinaya Padmanabhan, researcher, Transparent Chennai
Ward councillors recently took a TNSCB meeting by storm by emphasizing on in-situ rehabilitation of all slums in their wards. As a participant in that meeting, I found myself cheering these councilors on, clapping enthusiastically and yearning to recount the experience. So here goes:
Some background information first: Consultants Darashaw & Company Ltd. has been hired to do the surveying and mapping of all slums in Chennai city, as required under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). They have nearly completed their work in Zones 13 and 10. Community guidelines of the RAY require that the residents of slums be involved in the survey process and that the survey be presented before the communities for ratification before it is finalized. However in Chennai, these steps have not yet been followed. In one of our meetings with the Board, we were told that a “public” consultation would first be held with ward councillors where the list of slums identified in the zone would be presented, along with the Board’s tentative plans for their redevelopment. Admittedly, we were apprehensive because a meeting with councillors is not quite the same as a public meeting with community members participating. Also, one hears many horror stories of councillors acting against the interests of the poor people in the ward. However, our fears were laid to rest during the first consultation done for Zone 13 that was conducted in a democratic and transparent manner, and during which the TNSCB officials made an explicit commitment towards holding a larger public meeting with residents upon the completion of the survey (see earlier post from Nithya for more details on this meeting!).
I attended the Zone 10 meeting, which was held on March 19, 2013. The tone of the meeting was set early on, with councillors interrupting the TNSCB chairman’s speech to ask the Board to cut to the chase and present the Zonal data which was of relevance to them. As the survey data from each ward was presented along with maps, the councillors took charge of the meeting and assertively voiced the needs of the people. (They had earlier been given the list of surveyed slums in their ward, using which they had obviously done thorough homework).
Ward 127 Councillor K. Malai Rajan went first, and insisted that the residents of Koyambedu Colony be rehabilitated in situ, assuring the Board that the land lay on village naththam poramboke (common lands) that can be given to residents. He made a similar demand for New Colony which lies close to a riverbank and was slated for relocation by the Board in the RAY survey. Finally, the Board officials agreed to conduct a joint inspection of the area to determine further course of action. He also pointed out that the residents of Kulasekarapuram which was developed under the TNUDP, had not received sale deeds yet, and urged the Board to look into land transfer issues to speed up this process. He identified slums that had been left out in the survey and made relevant points about the need for the Board to create awareness on the RAY and its potential benefits among the people so that they do not resist the surveying process.
After him, one after the other, every councilor made specific demands for the slums of their ward. Repair of existing TNSCB tenements, civic issues such as drainage problems in these tenements and the need for declaration and property title for slums that have existed on private lands for many years were some of the common issues raised by them. Some of them even pointed to vacant lands owned by the government in their wards, which could be used to relocate people living on so-called “objectionable” or “untenable” land. But most importantly, all of them emphasized on the need to involve councillors in plans and processes concerning the slums in their ward, and on cooperation and concerted action from the Corporation, MetroWater and the Board to solve issues in these areas.
The Board for its part provided a democratic space at the meeting that allowed criticism, and responded to the points made by the councillors. Ultimately, attendees agreed that a committee would be set up to look into the issue of slums on private lands, and to facilitate meetings with MLAs as well to discuss strategies for slums.
This meeting was promising: one hopes that the voices of the people will be heard resoundingly at the forthcoming public meetings, and that the Board would be empathetic to their needs. We at Transparent Chennai are keeping our fingers crossed.
The Rajiv Awas Yojana Guidelines for Community Participation states that this ratification is necessary to ensure that no households are left out and the data collected is accurate. In addition, it states that “in slums where the survey has been carried out by agencies without the participation of the community, it is imperative to get the data verified and validated by the community.” This must be done by means of camps and meetings organized by the ULBs. Accessed at http://mhupa.gov.in/ray/Planning_guidelines2012.pdf
Written by Priti Narayan, researcher, Transparent Chennai