[Hpn] Rehabilitating slum-dwellers

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Wed, 04 Jul 2007 20:56:14 -0400


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          http://www.thedailystar.net/2007/07/05/d70705020126.htm
          =20
                  Editorial

                  Rehabilitating slum-dwellers

                  Make it part of overall vision for urban development

                  The government's plan to rehabilitate at least =
7,000-8,000 evicted slum-dwellers through constructing buildings on two =
plots of the works ministry land in Mohakhali and Mirpur areas in the =
city is a welcome step, if only because it is for the first time that an =
initiative on such scale has been taken towards providing concrete roofs =
for the homeless to live under. Whilst the move is reflective of the =
decision makers' concern for an essentially humanitarian issue, we have =
a long way to go in alleviating the housing problems of the numerous =
people who turn to the capital for making a livelihood.=20
                  We believe the government needs to take a serious look =
at the urban slum issue and deal with the matter on a long-term basis. =
First of all, there should be growth centres developed in the outlying =
areas to hold the people to their rural habitats. Secondly, what do we =
do with the existing slum-dwellers or the 40,000 evictees who are not =
covered by the first phase of the housing programme? The problem with =
slum-dwellers in our context is that they have always been looked upon =
negatively. However, quite a few examples can be cited to prove that =
these people are providing both skilled and non-skilled labour in many =
sectors and making significant contributions to the service sector and =
the economy as a whole. One can hardly overlook the garment workers in =
this respect.=20


                  There are good examples of how developing countries =
have provided low-cost housing for the urban poor initiated on the basis =
of pragmatic plans under public-private sector collaboration which =
attached due importance to the slum-dwellers' role in an urban setting.=20

                  Shanty owners and middlemen exploit the urban poor and =
finally they are evicted from their homes when the land under their =
occupation is earmarked for real estate development. So, the latest =
government move has to take into account the vulnerability of the poor =
and leave no loopholes in the plan to transfer the buildings to the =
homeless at a nominal cost payable at easy installments.=20

                  Obviously, piecemeal efforts will not bring about the =
desired change in the lot of the urban poor. The plan of creating =
housing facilities for the slum-dwellers, evicted or otherwise, has to =
be included in the overall urban development scheme of the government.
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            <DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
            =
href=3D"http://www.thedailystar.net/2007/07/05/d70705020126.htm">http://w=
ww.thedailystar.net/2007/07/05/d70705020126.htm</A></FONT></DIV>
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                  <DIV><FONT class=3Dshoulder>Editorial</FONT></DIV>
                  <DIV><BR><FONT class=3Dmainheadlink>Rehabilitating=20
                  slum-dwellers</FONT></DIV>
                  <DIV><BR><FONT class=3Dsubhead>Make it part of overall =
vision=20
                  for urban development</FONT></DIV>
                  <DIV><BR>The government's plan to rehabilitate at =
least=20
                  7,000-8,000 evicted slum-dwellers through constructing =

                  buildings on two plots of the works ministry land in =
Mohakhali=20
                  and Mirpur areas in the city is a welcome step, if =
only=20
                  because it is for the first time that an initiative on =
such=20
                  scale has been taken towards providing concrete roofs =
for the=20
                  homeless to live under. Whilst the move is reflective =
of the=20
                  decision makers' concern for an essentially =
humanitarian=20
                  issue, we have a long way to go in alleviating the =
housing=20
                  problems of the numerous people who turn to the =
capital for=20
                  making a livelihood. </DIV>
                  <P>We believe the government needs to take a serious =
look at=20
                  the urban slum issue and deal with the matter on a =
long-term=20
                  basis. First of all, there should be growth centres =
developed=20
                  in the outlying areas to hold the people to their =
rural=20
                  habitats. Secondly, what do we do with the existing=20
                  slum-dwellers or the 40,000 evictees who are not =
covered by=20
                  the first phase of the housing programme? The problem =
with=20
                  slum-dwellers in our context is that they have always =
been=20
                  looked upon negatively. However, quite a few examples =
can be=20
                  cited to prove that these people are providing both =
skilled=20
                  and non-skilled labour in many sectors and making =
significant=20
                  contributions to the service sector and the economy as =
a=20
                  whole. One can hardly overlook the garment workers in =
this=20
                  respect.=20
                  <P>
                  <P>There are good examples of how developing countries =
have=20
                  provided low-cost housing for the urban poor initiated =
on the=20
                  basis of pragmatic plans under public-private sector=20
                  collaboration which attached due importance to the=20
                  slum-dwellers' role in an urban setting.=20
                  <P>Shanty owners and middlemen exploit the urban poor =
and=20
                  finally they are evicted from their homes when the =
land under=20
                  their occupation is earmarked for real estate =
development. So,=20
                  the latest government move has to take into account =
the=20
                  vulnerability of the poor and leave no loopholes in =
the plan=20
                  to transfer the buildings to the homeless at a nominal =
cost=20
                  payable at easy installments.=20
                  <P>Obviously, piecemeal efforts will not bring about =
the=20
                  desired change in the lot of the urban poor. The plan =
of=20
                  creating housing facilities for the slum-dwellers, =
evicted or=20
                  otherwise, has to be included in the overall urban =
development=20
                  scheme of the=20
      =
government.</P></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD><=
/TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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