Sub-human conditions in Shivaji Nagar: report

Shivaji Nagar in the M-East ward, which abuts the Deonar dumping ground and abattoir, has seen stunted development over the years, according to a report, ‘Life on the Margin: Charting Realities’. It was based on a situation analysis survey in 12 clusters of the locality, covering 32,881 individuals, in 2015-16 by non-profit organisation Apnalaya.

The ward has the lowest human development index — it is at 24th place of 24 wards in Mumbai. The report points out how the locality is deficient on various counts, from healthcare to the availability of food.

The average age of death here is 39 years, while the infant mortality rate is 66. The national average is 41. For a population of 6 lakh, the locality has no hospitals, and just one dispensary. There are no secondary schools or nationalised banks. This, when 35 per cent of the funds allocated by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to health, education and slum assistance remain unspent, the report says.

At least 11 per cent of the families were not sure of their next meal, when over 58% of them had ration cards. The reason: 78% had to buy water, leaving little money for food. The average income in the locality was Rs. 7,800, and nearly half the residents live in households that earned Rs. 40 or less per day, per person.

At least 8% of families had individuals who did not eat the entire day because of the unavailability of food; 45.5% had individuals that ate only twice a day, while 1% had individuals that ate once a day.

Every second male, and six out of seven women in the area were unemployed. Considering that 47% the population here is below the age of 18, it is an opportunity lost to skill and develop a young population, says Dr. Arun Kumar, CEO, Apnalaya.

Almost every second child in the locality was underweight, and 29% of children in the 6-14-year age group, the right to education years, were out of school. “Even though the trend of urbanisation is increasing, it is not necessary that life will be more humane,” he said.

Annabel Mehta, president of Apnalaya, said, “In over 40 years of working in slums in Mumbai, we are seeing people living in worse conditions than earlier years.”

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Printable version | May 2, 2021 10:03:34 AM |

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