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May 6, 2009

Houses for slum dwellers is a key demand


Though the common objective in the city is to improve the living standards of the urban poor, there are divergent views on the approach to achieving this.

The Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) project of the Coimbatore Corporation and some sections involved in planning this indicate that some slums can be shifted out of the city and the people living in these can be provided concrete roof tenements with all the basic facilities. However, the slum dwellers and some parties supporting them are of the firm view that the tenements should be located only within the city.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate for Coimbatore P.R. Natarajan says a scheme for houses for the poor tops his list of priorities. But, he is opposed to shifting the people in the slums to any location outside the city.He asks: “When they clean our houses, why cannot they live among us?”

While this debate goes on, the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore and more than 100 other organisations have called for in their “people’s manifesto” the speedy implementation of the scheme to provide houses for the slum dwellers.Steering clear off this debate, the manifesto only asks for relocation of the families living on water bodies.

The manifesto says there are 200 slums with 20,000 houses and an estimated 30,000 families. More than three-fourth of the slums were on poromboke land, water bodies and lands belonging to various Government agencies. Referring to the BSUP project, the manifesto calls for building houses for all the slum dwellers.

Water scheme

While stressing speedy implementation of the Pilloor Phase II drinking water scheme, 24-hour supply and additional storage capacity, the manifesto calls for the forming of teams by the Corporation to prevent wastage from roadside taps.

The manifesto also demands the creation of a clean city with the help of an effective waste management scheme.People should be educated on segregation of waste at source and abandoned quarries should be used as landfill to dispose of waste.

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