INDORE'S DEVELOPMENT OR
By Anubhi Khanna
Indore, one of the largest cities of central India in Madhya Pradesh is nowadays turning into a mini-slum, even though in real estate terms, in the last five years, it has seen a lot of rise in housing complexes and appreciation in property prices. The number of slums in the city has increased over the past few years, raising serious doubts over the plans of the civic authorities to deal with the problems.
As per the findings of the Census 2011, the elected representatives of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) including the Mayor, officials of Department of Health, listed a total of 5,90,257 slum dwellers in Indore. This vulnerable assessment was done on the basis of housing conditions, sanitation facilities, employment status, availability and access to public health services, gender equity, literacy rate, etc.
According to the survey, most of the slums in ‘Mini-Bombay’ (Indore) have been built on land belonging to state government, while some park themselves on railway land and public local land. They have even lodging themselves on land for defense personnel, while some land for slum clusters is yet to be allotted. Many slum settlements are on land found to be on disputed single vacant plots. About 27 per cent of the sample households live in multi-storeyed flats, but the proportion is bound to grow with the increasing population and the space crunch has got more acute. Simultaneous growth of densely packed informal houses with uncertain tenure rights, best describes the shelter strategies adopted by the low income group in ‘Mini- Bombay’.
The slum area of the city also lacks a proper sewage collection and disposal system. A major section of slum areas depends on unhygienic disposal systems ranging from direct disposal to streams or through short distance sewerage lines. While the other major problems of the slum areas in Indore are grossly inadequate with lack of basic amenities, unhygienic conditions, unplanned layouts, poor accessibility and dilapidated housing.
Slums in ‘Mini- Bombay’ has higher dependency ratio which indicates vulnerability, especially when the earning member is dependent on unorganized work with no certainty in incomes. The slum and low income settlements are also characterized by low education levels or illiteracy. Madhya Pradesh ranks 21st in literacy rate among the states of the country. According to 2011 census, 70.6% is the literacy rate of Madhya Pradesh. Most of the illiterate people in Indore are the migrants from rural areas with little access to formal education.
There were several programmes launched for slum dwellers in Indore in previous years that have provided the framework for an integrated upgrading of the entire city within which the slum areas are viewed not as individual settlements but as an urban network. Slum Networking, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) were major among them. Their major objective was to improve quality of life. Even the slum dwellers played an active role in the development of the project and in its execution and subsequent maintenance. Although they have assisted in developing the slum areas, yet proper planning and strict actions are still required to be taken to come up with flying colors.
Meanwhile, in a positive development for the election season, a review of removal of banners, posters, hoardings and cutouts that have been put up without legal approvals, would be done by officials as appointed by Indore Municipal Corporation. Zonal and building officers have been directed to remove these illegal advertisements by forming gangs. This is a part of drive to rid Indore of defacement under the Property Defacement Act 1994.