The sentiment was evident in Patrakar Bhavan recently on the occasion of the Slum Rehabilitation project aimed at making Pune city slum-free. The city's Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BUSP) Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) - In Situ Slum Project being carried out in Yerwada, has been selected by Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York as a model for showcase from October 14, 2011 till January 31, 2012. Post surveys, only areas which have not been benefited from any government scheme have been considered for the project. 80 per cent of the developments are individual houses, with an area of 200 sq feet; the others are flats.
"We started working on the project in April 2009. There were many challenges we faced, including financial constraints. However, the biggest obstacle was to convince the slum people about the advantages of the project," Prasanna Desai said. The project claims to be capable of providing homes to the 1,125 households residing in seven high density slum areas in Yerwada. These slums include Mother Teresa Nagar, Sheela Salve Nagar, Wadarwasti, Bhatt Nagar, Netagi Nagar, Yashwant Nagar and Chandrama Nagar.
According to Desai, each house in the project costs nearly three lakh and the project is intended to be completed by March 2012. "Out of the 1,125 houses that come under the project, 180 have been constructed, whereas 650 of them are still under construction," said the project engineer Dhananjay Sadalpure.
Member of the Mahila Milan, Sarita Sonawane, who resides in the slum herself, said that the biggest problem that the slum dwellers feel is lack of attached toilets. "It took us long time to convince people and bring them on a common consensus terms. The project provides us with amenities which will make life easy in slums," she said. "This is an actual learning example for 60 cities of India where our organization is working towards the common goal of rehabilitation of the slums," said Jon Rainbow, In-Charge of SPARC of Pune City.
The project, according to Desai, is an effort to make Pune slum-free. "People living in these areas are deprived of many amenities which are essential for daily existence; this project will provide them with the requisite facilities," he said.