MUMBAI: Mumbai now officially has 3,293 slum clusters. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has, for the first time, carried out a Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of slums across the city, which shows that slum clusters are spread over 9,008 acres or 36.45 sq km.
The highest density of such clusters is in the K-East ward (Andheri) — 332 clusters spread over 299 hectares — while the C-ward (Marine Lines) has only two slum clusters spread over 0.04 hectares. As per Census 2011, 41.5% of the city's population lives in the slums. There are around 12.5 lakh slum households in the city.
The cluster exercise has been done to enable slum rehabilitation with proper town planning norms, said SRA CEO Aseem Gupta.
While earlier a builder would demarcate a slum area, obtain consent and apply for redevelopment, the SRA through this demarcation will decide how a slum is to be redeveloped.
"A developer takes up a slum area for development where he is confident of a 70% consent from slum-dwellers. This often results in odd-shaped slums. It then becomes difficult not only to rehabilitate all the slum-dwellers on the site but also provide for the sale component and social amenity. This results in large-scale concessions which is not in the overall interest of the city and compromises on the quality of life for residents," said Gupta.
Developers will now have to take up these clusters, which are contiguous areas, demarcated by the SRA. The authority will also map out civic infrastructure which will be in sync with the rest of the neighbourhood infrastructure.
P K Das, who had done the first slum mapping of the city, including the master plan in 2011, said it was a welcome step. "The government has finally recognized that this is the only way to develop Mumbai, create affordable housing from the sale component and prevent further slumification of the city," he said.
If comprehensive town planning norms are applied, it is possible to house all slum-dwellers in ground-plus-seven to ten-storey buildings. "One of the most amazing outcomes of such town planning will be the reduction in density," Das said, adding that the density will be reduced to 650 tenements per hectare as against 1,200 tenements per hectare through today's slum rehabilitation scheme.
"Land that will be freed on account of such planned SRS will help create 25% of open spaces and 10% land for social amenities, besides roads as required. This is a huge gain for the city. All reservations that are currently encroached will be freed," he said.
Sitaram Shelar, member, Hamara Shahar Mumbai campaign, said the SRA must publicize the maps and indicators used to demarcate slum clusters. "There must be transparency and community participation. Often these schemes result in people from different areas being brought together, resulting in tensions and conflicts," he said.
Wards with the highest number of slum clusters
K- East (Andheri East) - 332
L - ward (Kurla) - 299
M-East (Deonar, Mankhurd, Trombay, Anik) — 243
P-North (Malad/Dindoshi) - 224
K-West (Andheri West) - 195
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