Headline July 17, 2015/ "' TO SLUMS : BUT BY INVITATION ONLY "'

"' TO SLUMS : 


THE UNIVERSITY, where student Mariam sought knowledge,was an evicted slum. The University to which Dee surfed, was first, a slum dwelling.

Bordering, even now, the the School, and the College where Rabo and Aqsa studied, -atop and adjacent main sewage drain, snaking through Islamabad's prime sectors- is a slum dwelling, growing by the minute.

The people and authorities of Islamabad, call such dwellings, the ''Katchi Abadis''  - meaning in fact,  'the temporary haunts'.  That is the fig leaf of a precise translation.

PEOPLE IN DHARAVI, Mumbai, India, and humans, in sector F-6, of Islamabad, Pakistan,  look cheerful. Every one is busy and many are reasonably well off. Some live in flats and own television sets and other electronic gadgets.

Among slum-dwellers they are fortunate, for like Kibera, Dharavi is central, not just to the Diamond market and the financial centre but also the airport, beyond, which most Mumbaikars live.

Many therefore, spend hours getting to and from work. About 8 million commuters make their journey to and from the bottom of the peninsula each day. The roads are jammed and the trains overflowing.

Over 700 passengers are crammed into [or clinging onto] carriages meant for 120. About 3,000 people are killed on the tracks each year.

Some people from the slums have been happily resettled further out but close to a railway, which gives them ready access to their work. Others are benefiting from the citizens groups  that have taken root. Mr Arputham's  National Slum-Dwellers Association, for instance, is allied to a cooperative, through-

Which some 250,000 people nearly all of them women, regularly put money aside for their common good. And governments, donors and international agencies find the two organization to be reliable partners if they want to improve slum life.

Mr Arputhan  got involved in community action in 1975, when the authorities  decided to clear the slum in which he lived to make way for the Atomic Energy
Department. He failed to stop the evictions, but learnt. that people affected by such clearance schemes had to organize if they were to have any influence.

Plain confrontation is much less successful, says Celine d'Cruz, who works with Mumbai's pavement-dwellers, than informed argument, backed by statistics, surveys and the involvement of lots of potential victims.

Thanks to the efforts of such groups and consequent changes in the law, there are fewer evictions nowadays. The controversies, instead, surround efforts to improve the slums. The idea now in vogue is to bring in a developer, let him put up multi-storey buildings, use some of the flats to rehouse those living on the site and sell others at a profit.

Slum-dwellers often have enough money to pay rent, and such deals remove a financial burden from the local authorities or landlord. But the scheme is controversial. Some slum-dwellers are too poor to pay even a service charge, which will be levied in return for water and the use of a lift, even if the flats are rent-free.  

Many and others worry that such schemes will allow corrupt officials and corrupt developers to make huge fortunes at the expense of the poor.

Under the headline  ''Mumbai's great slum robbery,'' the Hindustan Times recently published details of a police investigation involving, it was claimed, pay-offs to officials to free the builders' hands.  Shirish  Patel, a civil engineer with-

A long standing concern for planning the city,  -more generally believes that both government and developers have a strong interest in keeping property prices high- and Mumbai ranks among the highest in the world. The higher the prices, the more the builders can charge. 

As for politicians, they profit from an invisible line that runs directly from slum-lord to local politician to state minister to his boss. Money runs up along this line, and so do votes.  

In return, the government lets the slum remain undemolished. It is a pay-and-stay arrangement   

With respectful dedication to the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Allure Of Solutions '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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