The cheapest and most expedient way for society to eradicate the slums is by leveling them after moving the people out and clearing the property. Next of course, new high rise apartment will be built. This is solving the problem and helping the poor, right?
How would your feel if you were living near family and friends, doing the best you could to care for your children , and someone came and told you , you were doing it all wrong? They moved you away from your “home”, away from all you are familiar with to live in an unfamiliar section of the city to wait for the home that will be provide for you. And yes, by the way, living so far away from your job now in the high rise. . . how are you to get to afford transportation to make the meager wages so essential for just basic living?
This short video tells the story of the River Front Project in Amdavad. The government is not wrong in wanting to provide appropriate lodging for the many businessmen and tourists now flocking to this city. I am a capitalist but feel strongly of being a “responsible capitalist.” Let’s see. . .after five years, the people who were displaced from the river front slums are still in the same polluted area with chemical waste, no plumbing , eking out a not very healthy existence. Where are their new home being constructed? To the best of my knowledge, if they have been started , they are far from completion. And the “throw away people” wait and wait for the promised new start.
Here is a picture of an almost completed one square block of new housing for former slum dwellers.
It is very near where we are located and across the street from some very comfortable apartments. My husband architect says that at the very least, the people will have to be taught how to live in their new apartments with the new plumbing and electricity. And there is the question of rent that they will owe for living here. Construction seems always to end up costing more than anticipated. What will happen to the families unable to pay the rent in the new apartments? They will become “throwaway people” after their homes and meager former jobs are taken from them. . . . for the sake of tourism?
I admitted to being a capitalist, so let me explain. Capitalism is a system that has helped many hard working entrepreneurs to make a better life for themselves and their families. A better life with more money. Let’s face it, money is necessary in our lives and does allow us to be more comfortable. It is just when the addiction of making money becomes our god , hurtful to others is it bad. In my opinion of course. In India, the entrepreneurial spirit thrives already Profits can also be used to help the “least among us” as Bill Gates and many other wealthy people have shown us.
I really need to search my heart to see if I can do more, and what a start if the world’s people with good and gentle nature filled with compassion and understanding could show love, generosity, and understanding to all of the Children of God, who like us, are created in His image!
This Is Incredible India!
All that you say is true, from the need to educate in the simple principle of paying overheads like rent, right through to the ‘social tariff’ entailed in living next door to neighbours who may not be tolerant of former slum dwellers. I do not know India, but from study of similar exercises in other parts of the world you may assume two things; 1. The new properties, cheap though they are intended to be, will be too expensive for their intended tenants, and 2. There will not be enough of these properties built. It is a recipe for shared occupancy, and the usual dish this provides is a soup of drug culture and street crime.
As I have said, I do not know India, but I am aware no nation’s people are more resilient or more hard-working than India’s, and no nation can match the optimistic attitude of India’s poor, or their capacity for love; but these patch solutions ask a little too much of any culture. However, pessimistic as I am, I wish this particular exercise well. Those who grow rich on the misfortunes of the poor also need to be taught. Everyone should look over their shoulder once in a while!
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Oh Frederick, I am always blessed by your articulate and thoughtful comments. Mr. Modi’s government has set as a goal to rid India of slums by the year 2020. That is not much time compared to the hundreds or thousands of years of history of this place. With a goal , a plan is necessary, and I only hope that the plan will somehow be sensitive to the slum dwellers as well as economical. Sadly, these may be mutually exclusive. I hope not. You can tell, I am sure that, I am not a great thinker or academic. . .but I have a very feeling heart. There are lots of people in India trying to help lead India into a better place and inspire the world with her r abominable spirit.
And that can only be applauded. Even from this distance it is easy to see that India is making urgent and well-meaning attempts to drive these issues forward. I wish Mr. Modi well.