URBAN POOR

A study conducted by the Chennai-based NGO, Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC), on World Bank-financed housing projects in Chennai and across Tamil Nadu reveals that nearly four decades after the implementation of the project, a majority of the beneficiaries still await land titles and sale deeds that were promised to them. The study, titled 'Implementation of the World Bank-financed Housing Projects in Tamil Nadu and its Impact on the Deprived Urban Communities', has been compiled based on the existing information and updates available in various citizens’ reports and participatory assessments that were facilitated by IRCDUC…

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During the Covid-19 pandemic, global healthcare systems went through a massive shock. In India, Mumbai was one of the worst affected cities with innumerable cases and deaths. The pandemic was an opportunity for the government to pause and look at the healthcare facilities in the city. Any disease that is diagnosed and treated in early stages has less chance of turning severe or fatal. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recognises primary health care as the centre for achieving health and well-being for all, at all ages.  Through the scheme of Aapla Dawakhana, the state government has tried to make…

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Bhaucha Dhakka or Ferry Wharf, located on the eastern seafront of the city, is one of Mumbai’s oldest fish landing sites. It is one of the four major sites, where fish is brought to the town.  Over the last few years, the dhakka has seen immense changes. A grimy billboard inscribed with the title ‘Sagarmala-Port-led prosperity’ stands at the side of the current trestle that leads to both the jetty and the newly constructed cruise and ferry terminal. This trestle will soon be demolished.  Bhaucha Dhakka handles both small boats and trawlers. As claimed by the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)…

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No matter how tall its skyscrapers or pungent the sea's odour surrounding it, Mumbai, or any city, can be narrowly viewed as just an island that operates on its stomach. It has many mouths to feed and produces very little of it. It serves as a destination, port, and junction for things that pass through to other places with mouths to feed. The city is of the stomach, by the stomach, for the stomach. Everything we do, we do it for food. Here is a window into a few prayers, search, fuel and labour that goes into the food the…

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More than 2400 families from tenements of BDD chawls, have shifted to transit camps over the past year. This is less than half of the number of 5104 tenements meant to be relocated in the Phase-I of the relocation process. While many families from over 16,000 houses will be relocated as part of the BDD redevelopment project, some might opt for rental accommodation on their, and some will shift to their own redeveloped houses as they get ready. If the scale of the project is not overwhelming enough, the initial experiences of residents at transit camps have added to the…

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On the morning of July 29, after continuous overnight rainfall, Prashant Pawar, and his neighbours heard a loud noise along with tremors, which felt like an earthquake. Everyone rushed outside to find the upper floor of a ground+1 storey house adjacent to their residence had collapsed, sending debris crashing down. The upper floor was occupied by a couple, while a family with two children lived on the lower floor. The family from the lower floor managed to escape but Priya Raj, was at home and sustained a head injury and was bleeding profusely. Prashant jumped into the wreckage to help…

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As one passes the bridge in Kotturpuram, the huge mound of construction debris that lies on the left, close to the banks of the Adyar River, cannot escape the eye. Amidst this debris lie the dreams of Kumari and hundreds of other families, whose story we narrated in an earlier report on Citizen Matters Chennai.  Kumari had bought with her hard-earned savings a 280-sq ft room in the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB) tenements that stood on this site. But that dream lasted for barely a year and a half. Then the Board decided to demolish these buildings…

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Monsoon is a difficult time for the residents of Hanuman Nagar, especially those residing along the banks of the Poisar river. Officially, it may be the river, but practically it is a nullah or a storm water drain, which carries household garbage and even sewage waste.   As the rains intensify, the residents brace themselves for tough times. "It can flood anytime and we may not have enough time to save our belongings, so we start preparing as rains begin. We store our clothes in bundles, so that they can be thrown quickly to our loft to save them from flood…

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More than four days after his younger brother died in a flooded sewer in Govandi in suburban Mumbai, 27-year-old Rahul Kumar was still in a hearse, headed to Gogri in Bihar’s Khagaria district, nearly 2,000 km from the financial capital, where the brothers worked as daily wage labourers.  “He did not want to enter the manhole, usko jabardasti utaara gaya (he was forcibly lowered into the sewer),” Rahul said of his brother Ramkrishna, 25, who died along with their uncle Sudhir Das, 35, on June 24. Rahul said they were construction labourers, who had worked earlier on building underground drainage…

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For the past three years, Anjana’s family of seven has had only one earning member. Anjana and her father, both workers at India United No. 5, a National Textile Corporation (NTC) mill in Mumbai, have been without work ever since the mills closed down during the COVID pandemic. Her brother works at a vegetable store. Expectedly, the income is not sufficient to run the household. “I dropped out after class 9 and started working at the mill in 2019 because the family needed more income. Once COVID happened, the mill closed down. We got full salaries for two to three…

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