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Urban renewal: at whose cost?

This brief article examines the draft housing policy of Maharashtra in India. The draft acknowledges that shelter is a basic human need and that it implies not only construction of bricks and mortar but includes also the supporting infrastructure, access to transport and employment opportunities and has to be a part of the development process.

Findings related to the draft policy include that it:

  • is geared towards not only facilitating but also orienting and supporting the profiteering motives of the private sector
  • widens the scope for the nexus of builders-corporates- lending agencies to interfere in the constitutional, pro-people, democratic decision-making processes
  • further shrinks the available space for the poor and the middle class in the cities
  • is a step towards furthering the distortions in land-use, planning and landholdings.

Policy recommendations include:

  • proper equitable housing policy can only be attained if the policy and the plans are made with the objective of utilising all resources, land and human power effectively and efficiently
  • it also requires that the primacy to the poor and due recognition of value framework of equity and justice becomes the basis for development planning as a whole and housing projects specifically
  • housing for employees must be a necessary condition for upcoming and established large industries and housing for employees should be seen as an integral aspect of the planning and financing of an industry or an organisation
  • the state government should develop transit housing to check the proliferation of slums.