Shared by: Prakash Kumar Pathak, PRIA
Source: Nav Bharat Times/ The Economic Times
Vijayawada urban agglomeration is characterized by a very significant presence of the urban poor, with a growing poverty profile. The commercial capital of Andhra Pradesh has a population of 11.8 lakh with a large percentage (over 25%) living in over 111 slums. It is estimated that many slums are located on private lands without access to basic services. The poor, not only habitate the slums of the city but are spread in squatters and informal settlements in small groups on the hillocks, river beds, etc., deprived of basic services.
Another feature is that the Vijayawada urban agglomeration consists of out growths which are presently not part of the corporation area but inextricably linked with the city both spatially and economically. In all these areas the poor population is very high and all these areas can be considered to be slums without basic infrastructure – physical and social.
The slum population as per 2001 census is over 30,851 and has gone up substantially over the last few years and as per the 2005 survey it stands at 42,554, an increase of about 38 per cent which is very high.
Under JnNURM scheme, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation undertook EWS housing on the periphery of the city at Jakkampudi village. entire land at Jakkampudi was acquired from farmers on 40:60 development basis in which the land owners were provided with best infrastructure including roads, water, electricity and drainage facilities. In this arrangement,VMC got 40% of the farmers land share (on which it builds houses for urban poor) and the farmers retain 60% but benefit from infrastructure development that the government undertakes.
The project is being executed in two phases. Phase I covers an area of 226 acres with 8,000 houses that have been built already. Phase II will cover 787 acres. All together, the project is expected to build 25,000 houses. With the completion of the first phase, the area has now been connected to the main city with 40-ft wide all-weather BT roads. VMC has built a flyover over a railway crossing that alone has reduced the distance by 4 km. It has also built an inner ring road, integrating the area to the main city. The colony is now just 5-8 km away from the central business district. The state governments bus service has begun and the work on bus shelters,street lights,water supply etc is being smoothened.
Within the colony the government has built a school,a hospital,a community hall,a park and one fair price shop. Going forward,32 flats,or a block, has been organized into a owners RWA association where they will take charge of maintenance of the building and other common issues even as the government will take care of the infrastructure issues.
Already, 3,000 families have moved. The work on the second phase will begin by the middle of this year.
Deepti Gaur Mukherjee, Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) director had visited 8,000 housing units for the poor in Jakkampudi villageand Gollapudi village where another housing project has been proposed for 25,000 families under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) to shift the slum dwellers. Each housing unit will cost `3 lakh and `one lakh will be spent for infrastructure development.
Municipal commissioner, G. Ravi Babu, said 25,000 houses will be built in Gollapudi for which the farmers had already given consent to hand over 300 acres of land. Farmers are ready to hand over another 470 acres. He said a detailed project report on Gollapudi housing project was to be sent to the central government by May for approval. He said `130 crore is required to develop the land in Gollapudi and 50 acres will be given to the Uda as part of the agreement. Babu said efforts are on to shift the slum dwellers to safer places after the completion of the projects in the coming years.