For Day 5, we visited the much talked about government housing near Rasoolpura, After going in through narrow lanes, at the end of a cement road we reach. This government housing seemed very familiar in format, to the one we had previously studied [xx make previously studied a link to the VAMBAY page xx], and it was because this was part of the same scheme. This was part of the VAMBAY scheme and not much has changed. The things that did change seem to have been for the worse. For example the road here was not a pucca road of any sort. Our first stop was at a small kirana store at the entrance of the colony. And then at a home where the owners were selling earthen pots, another store after that and finally two homes overlooking the nala with interesting expansions into the nala. Although the living conditions seemed to be improved with regards to the Rasoolpura slum the tenants here seemed to be dissatisfied
Ramulamma home :
After a brief walk around the VAMBAY complex we ended up near a small store in the sweltering heat, in search of water. The strange thing was, almost no shops sold drinking water, you could get soft drinks, but no water. So we ended up at Ramulamma house, the home was a simple home which was adapted to become a storefront from the front of the home and house the home from behind. This home belonged to a joint family that had consisted of 6 adults. With a home in the upper floor also, they had expanded their home by building a toilet as an extension into their balcony on the upper floor.
In our search to interview people about their lifestyles, a particular house struck us as more interesting than the rest. It was a home with dozens of small earthen pots put out, in front of the home and also inside the home. The home belonged to Mrs.Kalamma, who was in the business of selling these small earthen pots. We wanted to see if there was a small cottage industry around here that made these pots, but alas, there were none. Made in some village side area, the family brought in these pots and sell them here in the city.
Sai Kiran Home :
After exploring the homes of people who were living in nominal wages through their small establishments or jobs, we had come across areasonably established home owner, being the owner of a small fast food establishment in Secunderabad, Mr.Sai Kiran's home was almost decorated. When we complimented him on his home, he was keen to point out that the government had given almost nothing of what they see there. Behind his house was an interesting extension, an artificial slab was laid an extended to form a small balcony of sorts with a temporary roof, left unfinished in brick itself. He points out the he had personally spent INR 50,000 on strengthening his foundations in fears of flood water eroding away the base of his home. Although most of the people we had spoken about didn’t have much to say in the land allocation process for VAMBAY, he had interesting theory that brought into question the motives of the leaders leading charge for this change. The theory goes that, since many of the slum dwellers were in possession of their legal land ownership papers, the leaders basically got those lands transferred to their own names before allocating them flats in VAMBAY. In some extreme cases apparently they had shown issuing the same flat to multiple tenants, and there by marking better progress. What all of this means and its legitimacy is beyond the scope of our study, but the possibility of things like these to exist is not to be scoffed at and shows the difficulty in developing any comprehensive solutions to our problems in this political framework.
Our Understanding of the Situation
The people in the Rasoolpura slum are dissatisfied by the fact that the government hasn’t fulfilled on its promises of providing housing. Living in temporary housing, sometime without even access to clean toilets, the slum dwellers look towards the government housing and consider them to be living in better lifestyles. The dissatisfaction of the slum dwellers isn't helped by the fact that aspiring politicians come down here every election cycle making them promises of a better lifestyle and not never hearing back from them again.
On the other hand the people in the government housing seemed to be envious of their slum counterparts because of their ability to expand. Now that the ones living in the VAMBAY housing could understand their financial potential, they see that holding onto their land could've benefitted more.
Apart from actually rehabilitating slum dwellers, the government should take steps into understanding and being responsible for the impact of these housing communities on the society at large. Large scale housing societies can have a large impact on the areas around it, with its impacts ranging from social to sanitary issues, it is in the interest of integration that the government needs to think of aiming for best practices when it is dealing with these issues. Starting from addressing waste management to helping the slum dwellers find a better place in the economy, the government needs play a better role in the design of rehabilitation efforts.
Although a lot of progress has been done towards the upliftment of slum dwellers, a long road remains, and it is up to the government, some NGO's and the forces of capitalism that would create the next change
In light of this, a thought occurred to us, that true upliftment of slum dwellers doesn't come through concrete roofs but through giving them concrete livelihoods. By improving their economic stature.