By Anshu Singh, PRIA
Ambedkar Kachchi Basti is located in Malviya Nagar which is one of the most affluent areas of South Jaipur. This slum is located near Satkar shopping centre and surrounded by Multi-storied buildings from all sides. It was formed in the year 1978 when around 40 families inhabited this place for labour works. Slowly habitation started in this slum and the number of families began to increase. At present 250 families reside in the slum, which have been staying there since last 20 years. The slum inhabits 150 families of Bairwa community, belonging to Scheduled Caste and 20 families of Meena communities belonging to Scheduled Tribe. Besides these, there are few families of Gujjars, Rajputs, and Muslims. In the early days of habitation there was no facility of electricity and water. The slum dwellers used to avail from borings in park or nearby construction sites. Since last 25 years they got water supply and electricity connection from Jaipur Municipal Corporation. This slum falls under Ward No. 38 in Motidungri Zone of Jaipur Municipal Corporation.
Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), under the project “Strengthening Civil Society Voices for alleviation of Urban Poverty” funded by Ford Foundation and Rockfeller Foundation approached the slum. On probing the problems faced, lack of sanitation facility surfaced as the most pertinent problem of the slum dwellers. There was no sewer line in the slum. Only ten households had temporary toilets. Others used open spaces on road sides for toilets. Ladies faced a lot of difficulties for accessing toilets. They avoided going for toilets in broad day light and therefore, could only go in early mornings or late evening after dark. Their security was threatened. Also the place was filled with dirt and filth and un-hygienic condition prevailed in the slum. Also in absence of drainage there was water logging at every nook and corner of the slum which became the breeding ground for mosquitoes and therefore, seriously affecting their health and hygiene.
Meetings were organized by PRIA for sensitizing the slum dwellers on the problems faced. As a consequence there was increased interaction among the slum dwellers. In successive meetings, two community leaders viz. Smt. Rukmani Devi and Sri. Jagmohan Bairwa, were selected from among a group of 40 people. The community leaders were oriented to discuss issue of sanitation with the slum dwellers and that they can take their own initiative to solve the problem instead of waiting for the government. The slum dwellers become more organized and started thinking to solve the issue of sanitation. PRIA was called again to discuss the matter in the meeting.
In the meeting during a brainstorming session, community leaders suggested contributing money from each household in the slum for construction of sewer line. Other slum dwellers opposed the suggestion. PRIA asked them to talk among themselves over the matter. The community leaders again conducted a meeting on their own and only three people agreed over contributing money for construction of sewer.
Figure 1: Meeting with slum dwellers of Ambedkar slum along with their community leader
When PRIA conducted the meeting, it was found that ten people from the slum were ready for contributing money. The meeting ended with the decision that these people would contribute money and construct sewer line joining their houses only. Hearing this, the rest of the slum dwellers felt that they would be deprived of this facility if they don’t contribute in sewer line construction. As a result every household of Ambedkar slum agreed upon contributing money for sewer line construction. In successive meetings it was decided that Rs. 400 would be contributed form every household for laying of sewer line. PRIA also discussed the issue with their Ward Parshad, Mr. Sanjay Verma. Mr. Verma supported the slum dwellers and extended the sewer line to connect with the main drain. Their problem of sanitation was solved by the community themselves. At present 90 percent of the households in the slum have their individual toilets. With the construction of sewer line, the problems related to drainage was solved.
Figure 2: Toilet constructed in the house at Ambedkar slum
Figure 3: Man hole of sewer line
The case of Ambedkar slum presents a good example “Where there is a will, there is a way”. The slum dwellers of presented a good example of solidarity and cohesion where without any external support and financial assistance they could solve their problems by organizing themselves.