Tag Archives: SIC

URBAN POOR LIVE LIKE PHEONIX

by Shivani Singh, PRIA

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.(wikipedia, 2014).Urban poor represent phoenix birdas their houses, livelihood, belongings,relationships and networks, rather their whole existence gets burnt either by residing in an unsafe place or due to powerful forces that surrounds them. Power can be of all kinds’ money, muscle, governmental orders or vested private interest. But still they continue to live and struggle.

Patna grapples with many social and economic issues. Urbanization is happening but at snail’s pace. The urban poor and urban slums of Patna are no different than other urban poor and slums of Kolkata, Jaipur, and Bhubaneswar which I got to visit this year. The problem of land, water, sanitation, education, health, and security remains common phenomenon everywhere.

I met the newly formed Slum Improvement Committee (SIC) Federation’s core committee members who will work for the development of their respective slums and engage in demanding various rights from the government. The core committee is democratically elected body by the SIC members in the PRIA intervened slums. The SIC members narrated the problems encompassing their slums and how SIC formation led to bringing in improvement in their community.

Ram Dheeraj Prasad, 62
“My basti was set on fire four times. Where should I go? I do not have any house. When I go to meet the government officials they call me ‘ganda aadmi’ and say, ‘kaun bulaya tumko, chal bhag yaha se’.
Despite of being rejected ad humiliated many times by the authority he still has the willingness to fight for basic rights for the slum he lives in with his grandchildren.

Bacchi Devi, 27
“There is a sewage treatment plant near our ‘basti’ when there is power cut the sewage plant overflows and our basti gets filled with filth. We can’t enter our slums. Our house gets flooded with filth and the livestock, our belongings flows away with it. It’s a regular phenomenon. Again we build our houses and live there. No other place to go.”

Munna Kumar, Sandalpur, age 27
I don’t have much earnings. My basti has been set on fire many times. It costs Rs. 10,000 to construct a kuccha house in slum. It’s difficult for us to every time build a new house. Government should resettle us in same place we live.
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Sagar Ram, Dhobi Ghat, age 65
Our slum doesn’t have basic amenities. Eviction is our greatest fear. I legally own the land, yet it was encroach by few powerful people. Being powerless I tried to mobilize the community and together with their help and contribution we built a primary school. But as the school land is near a pond which get over flooded during winter seasons this hampers the studies.

Sharda Devi, Adalat Gunj, age 55
“There is no water facility in basti. A hand pump was installed with the help of an NGO (Water Aid). There is no school or crèche for children in slum.”

Rita Devi, Vetinari Campus, age 30
“My basti doesn’t have proper waste disposal system. There is no water, no electricity. The only insecurity is getting evicted from the place we have been living since long.”

Sanjay Kumar, Hima Nagar Ward 34, age 40
“I have been living in ward 34 for past 30-40 years. There is no water, no toilet, no drainage in our basti. There are many governmental schemes but they are least accessed by the poor.
We are associated with Dalit Vikas Samiti and PRIA and have formed a SIC that works for the betterment of community. We collected Rs. 25000/- from the community by taking a donation of Rs. 100 from each household and installed a 400 feet pipeline and a motor. This collective effort helped us in bringing in water in our basti. It’s because we collectivized we were able to think about how to solve the problem. The SIC also played an important role in putting pressure on the municipal commissioner to install a handpump in their basti.”

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Ajay Kumar Malik, 34, Kankarbagh
“I also belong to basti that doesn’t have any basic amenities. I do manual scavenging and earn Rs 4000/-. The government claims that scavenging is abolished hence doesn’t exist but the same is false as in my basti itself there are 200 youths that are involved in manual scavenging. We get Rs 100 as wage for cleaning the gutter whole day! I worked in municipality for 3-4 years. Now that the work of sewage cleaning is contracted out I work on private basis.”

The above narrations of problems faced by the urban poor who are now part of SIC federation showcases a known picture of any slum. Eviction is the biggest insecurity with which the urban poor grapple. When asked from the SIC members what is the first thing you demand? They all answered unanimously that “we want land rights rest all can only come after we assume land rights. ‘Jaha hum rahe rahe hai hume vahi basaya jaaye’(rehabilitate us where we are living now).

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Health checkups in slums with effort of Slum Dwellers!

by Mahesh Dhandole, PRIA

Slum Improvement Committee (SIC) organized Free Eye Check UP camp in Joint Collaboration with MGM Eye Hospital, Raipur

Since last two year, PRIA along with partner organization Chetana Child & Women Welfare society is making an effort to collectivize and strengthening the urban poor and their groups (SICs) by providing information and various platforms so that they could raise their voice in front of various authorities and stakeholders. As a result, various interfaces with govt. & other institutions are happening by SICs for improving the condition of slums in Raipur.

MGM eye hospital is one of biggest eye care hospital in Chhattisgarh state, which was established with the mission of providing most advanced eye care to all segments of the society, especially the underprivileged. During the time, PRIA had shared their initiatives with the outreach team of MGM and organized interface meeting between SICs and team of MGM in PRIA office, on 12/05/2014. Mr. Soumya Ranjan, Programme Manager of MGM had shared information about their hospital and outreach activities.  Members of SICs and MGM were discussed the various aspects of organizing free eye check-up camp in slums and fixed the scheduled for camps in different slums. It was jointly discussed, the field level mobilization will be done by SICs and team of doctors and other materials will be available by MGM hospital.

On 20/05/2014, one day free eye check camp was organized at Govt. Primary School, in Kanshiram Nagar slum of Ward no. 44 in Raipur. A five member team of doctors, lab technicians and assistants were present in the camp. Around 120 citizens did their eye screening through various processes in the camp. Slum Improvement Committee of Kanshiram Nagar actively facilitated the camp in their slum. Ex. Ward Councillor Mr. Kuber Safa also visited the camp and appreciated the effort of SIC. During the camp, 15 citizens were identified who had the critical eye disease like cornea & Anterior Segment and 35 patients of reflective diseases were identified. Out them, 5 citizens were referred to the hospital for free operation surgery. In the evening, MGM hospitals arranged the vehicle and send these 5 patients to their hospital for free operation surgery of eye. However, all the other SICs will organize free eye check-up camp in their respective slum. A next camp will be organized on 25/05/2014, in Tarun Nagar Slum of Ward no.30.         

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Dissemination and Outreach through Media –Efforts of Slum Improvement Committees

PRIA-Raipur

Through facilitation and handholding by PRIA and Chetna Child and women welfare society, 7 Slums of Raipur over the last two years have been able to formulate ‘Slum Improvement Committee’ in their own slums which is a democratic body, selected by the slum dwellers themselves such that it represents the issues faced by the slum dwellers, assists all the inhabitants as and when required and becomes an interface between the governing bodies and the slum dwellers.

The seven slums that have been successful in formulating these slum improvement committees (SIC) in Raipur are:

  • Durga Nagar
  • Tarun Nagar
  • Indrabhatta kushta
  • Chandrashekhar Nagar
  • Kashiram Nagar
  • Gandhi Nagar of Shankar Nagar ward
  • Gandhi Nagar of Kalimata ward

The SICs in these slums have been a focal point to mobilise the community, raise awareness about applicable schemes, take the opinion of slum dwellers to the governing bodies and undertake pioneering steps towards generating a valid knowledge base about their slums through mapping and survey of the slum conducted by the slum dwellers themselves.

These SICs are now further collectivising and holding joint meetings to learn from each other experiences and provide necessary hand-holding support to each other. Each SIC has also formulated a two member committee called “Jan-Jagran Samiti” that represents the SIC and the slum dwellers by acting as a ‘Voice’ in front of media, civil society, governing bodies and people at large.

On 23rd April, the Jan-Jagran Samitis of each of the seven slum, organised a joint media interface at Raipur and took the opportunity to disseminate the issues faced by their own slums, response of the relevant governing bodies to those slums, collectivisation of the slum dwellers under SIC, various initiatives taken by SIC and slum dwellers and various success stories thereof.

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Some of the issues that the Jan-Jagran Samitis elaborated upon are as follows:

  • Durga Nagar residents represented by Mr. Bhagwan Yadav, shared the present condition of the slum dwellers, wherein the slum dwellers who have been inhabiting land of Raipur Development Authority (RDA) since many years are now facing constant threats of evictions through false notices by business men who would like to take over that piece of land.
  • Tarun Nagar residents shared their plight, wherein even though Rajiv Awas Yojana assures of in-situ upgradation, this slum that is inhabited on the ‘nazul’ land is getting notices of eviction since Raipur Municipal Corporation (RMC) claims that tenure rights on the nazul land is not feasible. However, private corporates and business men have been able to get the requisite registry of land on similar nazul land in the area. Sanitation is another one big issue for this slum community for which RMC is yet to provide for.
  • Representatives from Indrabhatta Kushta Basti and Chandrashekar Nagar elaborated upon the challenge that their slums are facing. Both of these slums are situated on the Railway Land and are not included in the Rajiv Awas Yojana, which promises a ‘slum-free city’ and in-situ upgradation or rehabilitation of each and every slum in the city.
  • Kashiram Nagar, as shared by the representatives, also faces issues of ‘tenure rights’. While representatives of Gandhi Nagar, elaborated upon the lack of connectivity of the slum to the main road, that is at present blocked due to a private construction. While cleanliness and irregular services by RMC were daunting issues for residents of Gandhi Nagar

Despite of the challenges faced by these slum communities the Jan-Jagran Samitis shared the pioneering initiative undertaken in these slums to formulate SIC and the positive initiatives towards the development of the slum taken by the SIC and the slum dwellers themselves. Some of the success stories shared by them in the media interface were as follows:

  • Efforts of SIC towards information sharing and spreading awareness about the RMC initiative of Nagar Suraj Abhiyan and even helping the slum dwellers to fill the adequate forms for the same.
  • Information boards that the SIC have formulated in each slum to provide necessary and timely information to the slum dwellers is another positive initiative that has been undertaken.
  • SIC members also assist the slum dwellers in procuring their claims, ration cards, rights from other relevant schemes etc.
  • Efforts of SIC in being proactive about the rights and processes of Rajiv Awas Yojana and equipping the community to conduct its own survey and having a correct knowledge base about their community. They shared in detail the experiences of Chandrashekar Nagar who has been successful in conducting their own slum survey through GPS and google earth. Read more about the community led survey here at Terra Urban

This “citizen-media dialogue” was the first of its kind, wherein the slum dwellers finally gathered to have a ‘Voice’ of their own and shared the same, through media. Various leading newspapers of Raipur- Patrika, Central Chronicle, Nai duniya, Navbharat, Hitvada covered this dialogue. See the clippings below:

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