Tag Archives: Slum Improvement Committee

When slum dwellers are heard! – City level urban poverty consultation at Raipur

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.

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Power of Unity and Collectivisation- towards Urban Poverty Alleviation

It is easier to break one stick but difficult to break a tied bundle. This has been the eternal lesson of unity that we have learned over and over again. Unity plays a major role in urban poverty alleviation and the efforts of PRIA and its partner Chetna in the slums of Chhattisgarh is exhibiting exactly the same – The power and advantage of Sanghāta.

PRIA has initiated organisation of Slum Improvement Committees (SIC) in 7 slums of Raipur and 9 slums of Bilaspur, wherein representatives from the community become a contact point of knowledge building, awareness and dissemination to the whole community.

In standard Sanskrit, sanghāta is a term meaning the ‘fitting and joining of timbers’ or ‘the work done by a carpenter in joining two pieces of wood,’ and can refer to carpentry in general. It has a specialized use in a few Buddhist Sanskrit texts, where it means ‘vessel’ or ‘jar,’ and this image of ‘something that contains’ is evoked several times within the sutra, when Buddha calls the Sanghāta a ‘treasury of Dharma.’

Whether we take sanghāta as having the sense of joining or connecting that it has in standard Sanskrit, or the sense of holding or containing that it can have in Buddhist Sanskrit, the question remains as to just what is connected or held.

One possible interpretation is that what ‘is’ connected are sentient beings, and they are joined or connected by the Sanghāta to enlightenment.

This idea of being connected and a collective to move towards a larger good is translated even in the SIC and the larger aim of moving towards a socially inclusive urban city. As seen from a recent event wherein the SIC of Indrabhata Kushta basti organised a slum level meeting and invited the SIC members of other slums such as Kashiram Nagar, Chandrashekhar Nagar and  Durga Nagar. The Slum Level Meeting was an opportunity for all slum dwellers to discuss the pressing issues in each of their slums and advise each other from better practices as seen in some other locale.

They discussed about how to participate in the survey of Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) on-going in Raipur city and being undertaken by the professional agency hired by Raipur Municipal Corporation (RMC). In the process of slum survey, according to RAY policies and guidelines community participation in the process of survey is a must. The SIC members of Kashiram Nagar shared their experiences of the survey conducted in their slum by the professional agency wherein the agency while conducting the survey did not even communicate with the slum dwellers that for what purpose was the survey being conducted. SIC members however a dialogue had with the surveyors and cautioned them to involve the slum dwellers in the entire process. SIC members were able to convey this message to the surveyors because of the prior knowledge of RAY and its mandatory process and guidelines.

The participants also discussed various other applicable central and state schemes. For instance Mr.Bhagwan Das Yadav (SIC member of Durga Nagar) informed the participants about the scheme of “Shramik Card” which is an initiative of Labour department of Chhattisgarh State that under the banner of Chhattisgarh Bhawan Nirman Avam Anya  Karmakar Mandal. He informed that under this initiative any labour can get the card by submitting 3 photographs and birth certificate/Residence Certificate/ Marksheet with date of Birth in the Labor office.All those labor who have this card will be eligible to get the benefit of the scheme such as availing bye cycle and stitching Machine to the women labour, availing support sum  of 7000/- rupees to the pregnant women and 3000/- thousand rupees to the husband of that lady, scholarship of 500-1500 Rupees to their children and 2000-5000 rupees to the intelligent children, compensation of 40,000-50,000 rupees in case of any accidental death and upcoming scheme for pension in which the worker have to contribute 100/-rupees every month and another 100/- will be contributed by state government and another 100/- will be contributed by the board and this money will be deposited in the account in the name of the worker which will be opened free of cost in the bank and then after the age of 60 years he will be provided by the amount with the addition of appropriate interest in it.

The movement is on! It’s the power of collectivization and knowledge that is the key towards any form of empowerment!

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Capacity building of ULBs and Community – A need!

Equipping our cities to cope with urbanisation and related issues, many developmental schemes with support from the Centre and State have been floated in the recent past. The onus of the development work that is supported by the ‘funds’ by the centre is on the urban local bodies. Though decentralisation of urban governance has been in place since many years, dissolution and capacity of the urban local bodies is still debatable. The result has been two fold – one most of these schemes are lacking behind with a very poor understanding by the urban local bodies on how to proceed towards the larger objective of these schemes. The result is even though there is surplus of funds available to the urban local bodies, the ULBs are unable to adequately utilise the same. The second associated issue is community participation in these schemes. The development schemes continue to be top down irrespective of directives of community participation. One of the common complaints is lack of awareness seen in the community of various schemes and development rights of the community.

Read the news item below which clearly states the scenario in the Nagar Panchayat of Bodhgaya, Bihar wherein the total funding of 222.10 crore allocated under JNNURM scheme fails to be utilized  It is clear from this situation that immediate attention needs to be given to capacity building of the ULBs.

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Society for Participatory Research in Asia, under its project of strengthening civil society voices on urban poverty, is working in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jaipur extensively along with other small and medium cities in various states towards generating awareness among the community and civil society about various urban development schemes. One such awareness and capacity building exercise for the civil society are the Slum Improvement Committee initiated in cities of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jaipur.

Read the news item below which covers the important aspects of how the Slum improvement committee institutionalized with help of PRIA are one step forward towards creating awareness about slum developmental schemes such as Rajiv Awas Yojna and JNNURM.

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