Unsightly slums under flyovers

Triggering Infections

Unsightly slums under flyovers

Slums spring up almost overnight in vacant plots and lands. And they
vanish at the same speed that they sprout.

And the yearning for a roof above one’s head has now pushed the homeless to pitch camps below a few flyovers, especially under the Indiranagar and Mathikere flyovers.
The government has always made grand plans to provide housing for slum dwellers but most of them remain on paper and people are forced to find a settlement for themselves. Citizens think that is unsafe and unhygienic.

They feel that flyovers must be left untouched and used only for the purpose that they have been built.

Metrolife interacted with officials from the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board (KSCB), The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and people to understand why the growth of slums below flyovers is going unchecked.

According to officials with the KSCB, there are 597 slums dwellings in the City. Of this, 388 are ‘declared slums’ and the rest fall under the category of ‘undeclared slums’, which fall under the purview of the BBMP.

Shankar Pujar, assistant director, KSCB states, dwellings are declared as slums only if there are 20 or more huts and the people should have been living in the same place for more than 10 years.

“The central government launched the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) for the slum dwellers wherein only those who are eligible after a survey get free housing, water
and sanitation. Those eligible are also put through a biometric test,” explains Shankar.

The slum dwellings under flyovers come under the category of unorganised dwelling. “They will not fall under these programmes. It is difficult to move a settlement from its place of origin. Slum dwellers demand that houses be built in the same place where they have been residing. This is not possible sometimes,” adds Shankar.

Officials in the BBMP cite land acquisition as a major problem to relocate these dwellings, “It is not easy to move slum dwellers from one place to another. If they are settled in one place, then they wouldn’t move from there and we will have to then resort to evicting them. Identifying an alternative place is a challenge,” explains a senior official with the Health Department of BBMP. 

Doctors in the City think unorganised dwellings unleash a host of illnesses as a result of unhygienic conditions.

Kalpana Janardan, a senior consultant, internal medicine, Apollo Hospitals says, “Most of these temporary or unorganised dwellings have people carrying out their daily activities like washing and bathing in and around where they live. This leaves stagnant water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” she informs.

She adds, “This could trigger infections such as typhoid, diarrhoea, dysentery and gastroenteritis. This not only affects passers-by but also those living in the vicinity.”
The ordinary people think the City has lost its charm, thanks to garbage piles in almost every corner of the road. They feel the growth of slums must be controlled.

Sonalika, a banker feels, “Those who live in slums must be given an alternative place to shift rather than be evicted overnight. Maintaining hygiene is an important factor and I think it is missing in slum settlements.” T Srikanth, the head of an IT firm in the City, says, “Flyovers must be used for the purpose for which they have been built and should not be used as a place to stay. It goes against the very logic of flyovers.”

Samson, an employee of IBM, feels that the government must look into the issue of settlements below flyovers. “Most of these dwellings are unorganised and must be regulated by the authorities,” he sums up.

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