Indias shantytowns are result of incompetence, not poverty: Report

February 4th, 2009 - 12:50 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 4 (ANI): Indias shantytowns depicted in critically acclaimed film Slumdog Millionaire are an outcome of the planners failed attempt to build low-cost alternatives, according to a new report.

The film, which tracks the story of an 18-year-old slum boy from rags-to-riches, has won accolades overseas but received criticism in India for depicted the country has as “third world dirty underbelly”.

According to the report released by Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja, people have been forced to the conditions because city planners have failed to build low-cost alternatives.

With the boom in the India’’s economy in recent years rural people have been largely attracted to the urban areas hoping to get a slice of the growing prosperity.

With the lack of affordable houses they are left with no choice but to live in makeshift tenements with few basic utilities.

The report said that housing projects would provide residents properly constructed homes, linked to basic infrastructure such as sewage, electricity and running water.

It would be in sharp contrast to the slums which appear in most of the country’’s major cities, with their endless warrens of small houses and shops built of corrugated metal, cement and tarpaulins, public latrines and tangles of electric wiring, often illegally linked to the main power lines.

“The pace of urbanisation in India is set to increase, and with it, urban poverty and urban slums,” the Daily Express quoted Selja, as saying.

The report estimates by 2030, 50pct of Indians will live in cities, compared to the current 28pct of the 1.1 billion population.

About one quarter of city dwellers are living “in slums amidst squalor, crime disease and tension,” the report said.

“The challenge is to provide basic services to the urban poor and slum dwellers without letting the elite capture all the benefits,” she added. (ANI)

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