Socio-economic study conducted to improve basic services, housing

A socio-economic survey of city slums conducted by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) may be completed by March next year.

The survey was commissioned as part of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), a scheme that envisages slum-free cities.

Begun in 2010, the survey includes details of the members of every house, their age, marital status and source of income among other factors, a TNSCB official said.

At present, officials have covered five zones in the city, while in the remaining 10 zones the survey is in varying stages of completion.

“Once the survey is done, we will verify the facts once again for accuracy, by random sampling. Then, we will prepare a slum-free city plan of action, forward it first to State-level committees for approval and then to the government of India for a final sanction. Once we get the sanction, a detailed project report will be prepared and the execution of work such as improvement of basic services and housing will be carried out in all the slums,” he said.

The survey was simultaneously commissioned in nine other cities as well — Tirunelveli, Madurai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Vellore, Tiruppur and Tuticorin. While the survey has been completed in Tirunelveli, Tiruchi and Madurai, it is nearing completion in Coimbatore.

Residents of slums in the city though, are less than happy with the survey. M. Dileema, who lives in a slum in Adyar said, “The issue is, whenever people come to collect details, they never bother to tell us what the survey is about. If such surveys will improve our access to basic services and are not meant to evict us from our residences, then they should clearly explain the motive of the survey. All we ask for is improved quality of living.”

A research scholar on urban poverty, said that people were generally resistant and apprehensive about such surveys because they were not told why they were being asked questions. “They don’t have faith in the survey because they have been neglected for decades together and deprived of basic services. So it is not surprising that they are suspicious,” she said.

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