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STATE STILL CLUELESS ABOUT SLUM POCKETS

slum-1The state government, which wants to regularize slum units that have come up till January 1, 2000, finds itself without the latest data on slums in urban centres. The state has launched a satellite survey to map slums in cities to compile data that would strengthen its case before the Supreme Court where it has filed a special leave petition to extend the slum regularization cut-off to January 1, 2000, from the existing January 1, 1995. A satellite survey has been resorted to as the state believes that some cities, especially Mumbai, have slum pockets inaccessible to civic officials for what is called ground-table survey in government jargon. Satellite mapping would provide the government with photographic data on slums which can be explored further to arrive at statistics. Apart from being beneficial for the state’s case before the apex court, the survey will help the state clear land illegally occupied by slums post-1995. The state needs more land in urban areas for affordable housing and satellite images could be used to remove illegal slums. In Mumbai, slums – both legal and illegal – occupy close to 9% of city’s 435 sq-km landscape. Presently neither the state’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority nor the MCGM have reliable data on slums after January 1, 2000. A rough estimate says 60% of Mumbai’s population lives in slums. The satellite survey, officials hope, will give leads that should help the administrators put a figure to this percentage. With bureau inputs, Nilofar Shaikh for NMTV News.

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