SRINAGAR: Lack of availability of land, rising construction costs, and bad access to housing finance are the reason behind the growing number of slums in Srinagar city, says the new draft of Srinagar Master Plan 2035.
The city, according to the draft prepared by the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), has 10 percent of its population living in slums, which constitutes more than five percent of the total population of the state. Nearly 50 percent of the slums in the state are in Srinagar district, without taking into account a number of informal housing clusters on the city outskirts, as per the draft.
“Lack of availability of serviced land, rising threshold costs of construction, regulatory issues and access to housing finance are some of the major constraints which impact the ability of a common man to buy a house in the organised sector in the city,” says the draft.
Srinagar city, as per the draft, has 77 slums comprising 18,000 households, all of them un-notified settlements.
The draft suggests that nearly 70 percent of the housing demand in the city can be met through government interventions, private developers and housing co-operatives. It remains a big question whether this document could help slum dwellers to live in a proper residential house in the near future, because construction of housing units meant for rehabilitations of Dal dwellers are still in limbo. This draft document that makes the suggestions has itself been in the making for three years.
An officer of the SDA who worked on the master plan documents told Kashmir Reader that it will be difficult for the state to remove slums, for various reasons. “One is that most of the slum dwellers are unwilling to relocate. Many times in the past attempts were made to relocate slum inhabitants but they were unwilling. An example is of the Sheikh Colony, where many households were given plots elsewhere and yet they preferred to live in stingy environs,” the officer said.
“The second reason is that the number of slum dwellers exceeds the housing capacity the state has envisaged to provide them. The city has no place for sufficient housing. The slum-dwellers are unwilling to go to rural areas,” the SDA officer said.