Campaign for Housing and Tenurial Rights - Montfort Social Institute And A.P. Platform for the Rights of the Urban Poor
The UN Habitat III Conference is scheduled for the third week of October this year. The Government of India has presented a very rosy picture of the situation of urban development in the country. But much of this vision in terms of SMART cities, AMRUT, Heritage Cities and the Capital Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh have little for the poor
The State of Andhra Pradesh is well on its way to build its Capital, Amaravati. There have been controversies regarding the choice of the prime agricultural land, and the extend of land either acquired or intended to be acquired. But the greatest concern is the way the poor working classes – the agricultural labourers, vendors, fish workers and others in the Capital Region are being pauperised. There are no clear answers as to what type of compensation they will receive, where they will be rehabilitated and how will their livelihoods protected.
There are reports from the affected areas of increase in trafficking of young women, children dropping out of schools, agricultural workers having to travel to far distances to find work and large scale migration.
Equally disconcerting is the evictions of slums in Vijayawada and adjoining areas in the name of infrastructure, parks and other amenities. The 26 per cent of urban poor working classes living in slums in the city as well as the other adjacent areas of the Capital Region are under grave threat.
It is surprising that these are happening when one of the core aspects of the New Capital is that it will be a “People’s Capital”. But which people is the Government talking about?
The Census of India 2011 reported that approximately 380 million people live in urban areas. This number is projected to increase to about 600 million by 2030. It is estimated that 130 million of city dwellers live in slums and pavements. Organisations working on issues of urban poverty and housing however, believe that the actual number is around 240 million. In fact, 50-60 per cent of the populations in our small towns live in slums. There is a housing shortage of almost 25 million units in the urban areas in India. A large chunk of such shortage is for the economically and socially weaker sections.
The Promise of the Government of India to provide housing for all by 2022 and the promise of the TDP Government in Andhra Pradesh to make the State “Hutment Free” is yet to take off. But the budget allocations for these both in the Centre and the State are negligible. At the same time large scale evictions or threat of the same is on in the State.
The UN Habitat III Conference is scheduled for the third week of October this year. The Government of India has presented a very rosy picture of the situation of urban development in the country. But much of this vision in terms of SMART cities, AMRUT, Heritage Cities and the Capital Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh has little for the poor.
Hence we demand:
- The State of Andhra Pradesh issue a White Paper on how it will protect the housing and livelihoods of the urban working classes in the Capital Region as well as in the surrounding areas
- Provide housing and livelihood to the affected poor working classes by proportional allocation of housing and commercial properties for them in the Capital Region
- Stop all evictions in the Capital Region as well as in other cities and towns in the state
- Provide housing for the urban poor through in situ development so that they do not lose their livelihoods nor have they to travel long distances to find work
- Right to adequate housing means the right of people to live with dignity in dwelling units that are of two bed rooms of atleast 375 sq. ft. size with all basic amenities. Ensure the same in all housing schemes of the government.
It has been decided to bring together all organisations of working people and those working with the urban poor working classes in the State of Andhra Pradesh on a common platform to raise these demands and work towards their realization.