Society for Participatory Research in Asia(PRIA) and Chetna Child and Women Welfare Society have been working together in 7 slums of Raipur towards increasing the participation of the slum dwellers in various urban poverty schemes and increasing the accountability of the service providers towards the needs and rights of these slum communities. In this process of strengthening the voices of the urban poor, collectivisation of the community has been the propagated approach. Slum Improvement Committees (SIC) have been formulated and these have further been facilitated by capacity building and adequate orientation towards applicable urban poverty schemes and their own rights. All the SICs have also been encouraged to hold exchange platforms with each other and the service providers and other stakeholders to discuss about various issues and possible solution.
A similar consultation was organised on 9 May 2013 at Viridian Hall at Raipur which brought together SIC members of Tarun Nagar, Chandrashekar Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Kashiram Nagar, Durga Nagar and Indira Nagar and governing leaders of Raipur Municipal Corporation (RMC) including Mayor Dr. kiranmayee Nayak, RMC Speaker and Chairman of Zone-3- Sanjay Shrivastav, Zone-3 commissioner- Manoj Singh, Zone -4 Commissioner B.K. Bansvar and active participation of several NGOs.
The SIC representatives took this opportunity and platform to make the governing body and other participants aware of the issues that are affecting them, such as lack of tenure rights, unplanned resettlement, illegal resettlement of already resettled slums, issues faced by slums situated on railway land, need and right of in-situ slum upgradation and need for adequate participation of the slum community in central and state level schemes such as Rajiv Awas Yojana that are directed towards welfare of the urban poor.
The voices of the slum dwellers were heard and the service providers did give certain assurance to the SIC representatives, such as:
- The Mayor assured that in-situ upgradation shall be taken up as a priority and resettlement to other locations shall be avoided as much as feasible. She also promised a much greater and effective participation of the slum dwellers in slum-free city planning under Rajiv Awas Yojana in the city. Also she promised to discuss the dilemma of people residing on the railway land with the Divisional Railway Managar.
- RMC Speaker and Chairman of Zone-3 assured that through the formulated SICs, the slum dwellers from now onwards would have active participation in not just issue assessment but also decision making.
- Commissioners of Zone 3 and Zone 4 also advised the SIC members to register their written complaints to relevant zone offices to speed up the mitigation activities.
The civil society members inclusive of PRIA, Chetna, other NGOs and the formulated SICs pledged to work together towards the improvement of lives of the urban poor and adequately work along with RMC to facilitate a participatory and effective delivery mechanism to the urban poor.