There was an impressive turnout of senior officials and representatives of friendly political parties, NGOs and donors at the Contemporary Urban Development (CUD) policy workshop that the Lord of CUD had convened. All quickly agreed on consensus starting points and key conflict/problem areas. The consensus was on two overall Urban Strategic Purposes (USPs)—first, to constantly celebrate CUD ideas (for a feel-good factor) and second to control land, etc (for unhampered furtherance of CUD). The only conflict/problem was the demands on behalf of ‘encroachers’ that they be allowed to remain where they were or resettled and extended basic services. Participants quickly input their suggestions and comments on these issues on their networked computer stations and technical staff quickly did the needful, after which the Lord clicked Output.

When the default Old-fashioned Urban Development Option appeared, it said: ‘Error: Inconsistent Input… Protestors’ demands are entirely in line with consensus USPs… They all allow opportunities for creative minimalist interventions that can be celebrated and they require less land, etc than required for settling “encroachers” in standard development… “Protests” are, therefore, not called for… Revise Input’. Everyone groaned and the Lord quickly clicked Skip to CUD Option.

A sigh of relief went round the room as a friendlier output began to appear. It said: ‘Congratulations!… Protestors’ demands are entirely in line with consensus USPs… Conflict can be readily resolved by conceding—without legislating—The Right to Stay, The Right to Resettlement and The Right to Minimum Services… Proceed on CUD as before, justifying all future actions on the basis of one of these new Rights for the People… Invite protestors for consultations (preferably in luxurious locales) and try to win them over.’

The computer-generated policy approach was unanimously endorsed well in time for lunch. The Lord of CUD was very pleased—with the clever charter of rights, with the enthusiastic consensus, with the success of the workshop and with the positive brilliance of CUD.

Right to Stay

The Draft National Slum Policy for India circulated at the end of 1999 is clearly opposed to slum evictions. This was largely the result of NGO consultations, not just on this policy, but at several forums over many years. There is no doubt whatsoever that summary evictions—often in inclement weather and with authoritarian high-handedness—are acts of state that have no place in civilized, democratic societies.

The credit for drawing attention to the injustice of slum evictions goes to the efforts of several NGOs over two decades, besides of course to V.P. Singh for his dramatic intervention starting in the spring of 2000. Without such interventions and efforts , stories of victims of evictions—too caught up in the onerous task of day-to-day survival to become ‘organized’, too illiterate to become articulate, too exploited to have faith in seeking justice—would have remained unsung tragedies.

Protests against summary evictions initially were protests against violation of human rights. They have now grown to a clamour for the Right to Stay in the name of housing rights. The fact, however, is that housing rights are violated when people are forced—by failures of governments mandated (and constantly claiming to be committed) to facilitate housing for all—to settle in squalid and precarious conditions, not when they are evicted from them. Yet, NGOs, more than anyone else, have reduced housing rights to the right not to be evicted.

The story of how this happened is not the subject of this discussion, which focuses on what this right means to those on whom it has been conferred. Suffice it to say it followed the changing role of NGOs—from activism to convergence with government, from identifying problems to becoming partners in state-designed solutions, from giving voice to the people to becoming a hand for universalizing global paradigms, from minimal operations to massive fund-raising, from simple folk to celebrity.

Nearly all NGOs ‘working in slums’ are providing in-slum services funded by or through the state or directly by foreign donors or charitable civil society. They run street schools for slum children. They distribute STD drugs out of well-funded AIDS programmes. They mobilize communities for state- or donor-funded infrastructure improvements. They organize saving and credit groups for, among other things, recovery of state provided loans. They also agitate against evictions. The last often ends up being quite glamorous because that is when they find greatest support from hapless people and can more easily take to the streets or go to court and, of course, to the media. But evictions, however painful, affect only a few out of hundreds of slums in any given city. All in all, NGOs ‘working in slums’ are already doing what the DNSP recommends—treating slum upgradation as a solution.

But surely, with all their ‘grassroots insight’ it could not have escaped their notice that this is not working and the Right to Stay which they want so generously bestowed upon the people is no great privilege. It may stop the occasional bulldozer but, for the rest, it does little beyond change the label from ‘problem’ to ‘solution’ with some creative jargon in small print.

* * *

V.P. Singh’s ‘success’ in turning away bulldozers from the slum next to the railway line at Wazirpur, for instance, was projected as the start of a struggle for wresting for wretched slum dwellers ‘the right to live with dignity, work in security’.1 But even with the bulldozers gone, slum dwellers continued to have to ease themselves in full view of passing trains. So much for dignity. And the slum remained where it was, with the last row of houses close enough to the tracks to reach out and touch trains, including ones that routinely transported inflammable goods. So much for security.

Barely a month after Wazirpur was ‘saved’, a fire gutted another trackside slum in Delhi. Fortunately, inflammable goods were not being transported at the time and the city was spared a major disaster, though several trains had to be diverted.2 Earlier, days after Wazirpur was ‘saved’, ‘large portions of south Delhi were plunged into darkness when transmission lines from a power station tripped when jhuggis underneath them caught fire’.3

In some such cases, slum fires cause inconvenience to others. But in all cases, they are as much or more devastating than bulldozers for slum dwellers and happen with greater frequency and suddenness. Huts made of inflammable materials, often with occupation-related hazardous materials stored inside, make many slums veritable tinderboxes. A short circuit, a fire in the winter to keep warm, the accidental bursting of a gas cylinder, carelessness—anything can make the huts go up in flames. And the narrow lanes make it difficult for fire engines to get to the houses once there or to get there in time.

One of the first slum fires reported in the national media in 2000 was the one that destroyed over 400 huts in Calcutta in January. One eighteen year old was killed, ten others were injured and 3,000 were left homeless.4 Also in January, in Delhi, a fire in the riverside slum of Yamuna Pushta gutted 700 huts, seriously injuring two persons. It took twenty-five fire tenders two hours to bring the fire under control.5 In February 2000, in another part of the sprawling Pushta, a four-year-old died in a fire that destroyed 400 huts. This time, twenty fire tenders battled the blaze for over an hour.6

Summer time, especially, is fire time in slums. In April, in Delhi, three days before the slum fire that plunged a part of the city into darkness, 600 huts were gutted and three persons injured in another slum fire.7Ten days later, a minor girl died in another fire in a slum that destroyed seventy huts.8 Four days later, 200 huts were destroyed in yet another fire that took twenty-three fire tenders two hours to bring under control, injuring one fireman.9

After the fire that led to trains being diverted in May, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit visited the area and announced payment of Rs 1,000 to each affected family. In Chennai, after receiving twenty ‘medium’ severity calls and four ‘serious’ calls in 1999, the fire department created eighteen fire outposts, each with six men and a 10,000-litre water tank, to handle summer fires in slums. In May 2000, ‘only’ one medium and four serious calls were received.10 In Delhi, an affidavit submitted by the fire department later in court—the matter, like almost every other area of civic services in the capital at the turn of the millenium, was subject of a PIL—said we cannot effect fire safety compliance in slums.11

Come monsoons and it’s flood time in slums—bulldozers or no bulldozers. Even if they are not near rivers, slums lacking decent drainage suffer water logging and related problems of infrastructure, health and hygiene. When they are located along water bodies and watercourses (which they often are because these are marginal lands that have little ‘value’ for the rest of the city), they get inundated. In Brahmarambapuram, a sprawling ‘improved’ riverside slum in Vijaywada, for instance, residents have ‘door numbers’ written on pieces of furniture because the houses, along with the doors, are washed away by floods every year.12

The ‘almost ritual like exodus’ of residents who have ‘got used to planning their lives around the ebb and flow of the river’ makes a splash in national media when it happens in Delhi’s Yamuna Pushta.13 Every year in the history of this fifteen-year old slum, its residents have been shifting to the capital’s high roads, including its VIP routes, when the river overflows its banks and returning when the waters recede. Delhi does not normally have a flood problem. But when the neighbouring state of Haryana releases surplus water, the Yamuna rises. In June 2000, when Haryana announced it would release 200,000 cusecs of water, 200,000 slum dwellers of Yamuna Pushta prepared to move.14

Slum fires and floods, like ones reported in the newspapers in 2000, have been going on for years with unfailing regularity. What made them a wee bit different in Y2K was what got reported alongside. On 31 January the fire in Pushta was reported alongside a news item of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit launching a slum improvement project promoted by some NGOs.15 On 17 April the fire that claimed a little girl was reported alongside V.P. Singh exhorting slum dwellers to wield lathis for their Right to Stay.16 On 21 July the annual plight of Yamuna Pushta, Delhi’s best-known slum, was reported alongside Delhi Urban Development Minister A.K. Walia’s ‘demand’ that all slums be upgraded.17 How patchy improvements by inexperienced NGOs or lathis to scare away bulldozers or a consensus on upgrading would save slums from fires and floods that regularly ravage was a question that did not seem to bother slum saviours.18 After all, they lived in safe homes and their health and wealth was protected at taxpayers’ cost, with far more than the Rs 1, 000 offered to slum dwellers as compensation.

* * *

Besides routine slum fires and floods, the media in 2000 also reported at least two slum-related ‘urban calamities’.

In the middle of July, following a day of torrential rains in Mumbai, a landslide crushed Shivaji Nagar, a decade-old slum at the foot of a hillock in the suburb of Ghatkopar. One hundred and fifty shanties were destroyed. Over 100 people were trapped, sixty-nine died and several more were injured. When those outside government asked what happened to the Disaster Management Plan the city had prepared not so long ago, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said, ‘such plans do not avert disasters; relief comes in later’.19 State Home Minister Chhagan Bhujbal attributed the tragedy to weakening of infrastructure and urged the Centre to support the state in bringing about an ‘effective check’ on migration.20

Four days after the tragedy, with army and fire personnel still clearing the debris, Congress President Sonia Gandhi arrived ‘especially to console’.21 She described the incident as ‘very unfortunate’ and urged NGOs to help in ‘relief measures and in the rehabilitation process’.22 She visited the injured in hospital, and handed out the food and clothes already being provided.23 Sonia Gandhi directed Vilasrao Deshmukh to rehabilitate the families and told reporters that the state would facilitate construction of houses for the displaced.24

In Mumbai two types of slum interventions were on-going at the time, both premised on the Right to Stay. In one, builders were offered incentives (by way of greater floor space than normally permissible) to build apartments on slum land. After accommodating slum dwellers, they could sell the rest of the apartments in the open market. In the other intervention, infrastructure was improved, such as constructing community toilets under a ‘slum sanitation plan’.25 However, no one asked how either intervention could possibly have averted the tragedy in Ghatkopar, just one of many slums on precarious sites.

During the same monsoon, 24 cm of rainfall in twenty-four hours in Hyderabad resulted in civic facilities collapsing and nearly hundred localities being inundated.26 Environmental groups said the flood was ‘man-made, if not government made’, the result of decrease in rainwater holding and draining capacities of various water bodies on account of encroachments.27 Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu also acknowledged this and set up two committees to look into the issue of encroachments.28 No one asked why it needed a disaster to notice that encroachments, including slums, which come in the way of the natural drainage of water are risky. No one wanted to know why the state had allowed a citywide slum improvement project covering 811 slums, including slums in locations near water bodies, a decade ago in which Rs 450 crore was spent on housing, training and infrastructure. No one wanted to know why the state had launched once again, barely two months before the floods and in collaboration with the same donor agency, another statewide urban poverty project covering thirty-two towns and cities premised on the slum dwellers’ Right to Stay.29 Barely two months after the floods, for which the state sought Rs 300 crore from HUDCO for rehabilitating flood victims, the Centre approved a slum project proposal for which the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad was expecting foreign funding.30 The project premised on the Right to Stay had ‘components like training, education, health, water, sanitation, women and child development, besides infrastructure development’.31 On the lines of Mumbai, the corporation had also decided to relax building regulations for builders to build free housing ‘with lift facility’ for slum dwellers on slum land. This time, it seems, the corporation did not go seeking funds and ‘international agencies were themselves keen to fund the program. The pace of development and the happening image of the city is said to have done the trick’.32 No one asked—not even with the floods still fresh—how that made any difference to the fact that such approaches did not seem to work

* * *

Foreign consultants and advisors who come with foreign funding can be forgiven for not seeing the real issues of slumming as they go about facilitating third world development from the most expensive hotels, cars, bars, planes and trains. But desi politicians and NGOs do catch glimpses of these issues, for example when they show up for ‘relief work’ or to dole out ‘compensation’ in the aftermath of routine and not-so-routine slum disasters. Yet they clamour for slum dwellers’ Right to Stay—to be spared the bulldozers--- only to be devastated by fire, flood or land slip. They clamour, ironically, for a right to live only to die.

In impossibly dense slums, and especially in those inprecarious locations, upgrading is a waste of money—irrespective of whether the money comes from Indian or foreign taxpayers. It is also very unfair because people, encouraged by investments by or through the state, invariably make shelter investments of their own. In the DfID sponsored slum project in Indore, a centrally located riverside slum was ‘improved’. It does not take an urban planning genius to see that centrally located riverfront sites are not suited for low-income housing. It would appear that when the project started it was clear the slum would have to be relocated, but it was nevertheless decided to install infrastructure so that the slum dwellers were ‘benefitted’ in the meantime.33 Unfortunately the residents of the slum were never informed of this—not when the British High Commissioner visited the slum in 1991 and again in 1992.34 Not when infrastructure works worth Rs 1.5 million started in 1992.35 Not when state officials visited the slum in 1994 when a cleanliness drive was launched with community contributions.36 Not when people began investments in toilets and houses. Or in 1997 when they launched a widely appreciated community effort to de-silt the river (or rather drain), as a result of which, for the first time in years, the settlement was not flooded.37 Not in July 1998 when the state decided to grant ownership rights in project slums under the tenure law that was already in existence since 1984.38 Not, in fact, till October 1998 when the slum dwellers faced eviction as a result of a scheme for riverfront development.

On learning of the eviction, slum dwellers protested outside IDA’s offices. The question resentful residents rightfully wanted answered was that while the state may have the right to bulldoze its own celebrated investments, what right did it have to undo investments made by the slum dwellers themselves against implicit and explicit promises of tenure? They refused to leave the site, saying they would not let the state carry out any development on it. (Incidentally, speaker after speaker at a meeting of V.P. Singh’s Jan Chetna Manch in May 2000 voiced the same sentiment.)

Such a ‘demand’ from slum dwellers is tantamount to cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face. In Indore, it was made by slum dwellers living in squalor next to a stinking drain. It was made afterthey had ‘benefitted’ from the world’s most celebrated slum improvement project andthe first-ever state legislation granting tenure rights in slums—operating arms of the Right to Stay so to speak. This is as good as the Right to Stay can ever get. And yet, it is no good at all.

* * *

The Right to Stay, pretty dubious when seen from within slums, looks even more suspect when seen from without in a citywide perspective.

In Delhi, for instance, jhuggis accommodate 20 to 30 lakh people and occupy about 4,000 hectares of land (almost all of it government land) out of approximately 70,000 hectares meant to be urbanized for a population of 120 lakh as per the provisions of the 1990 Master Plan.39 The Right to Stay then translates into endorsing the inequityof one-fifth to one-fourth of the city’s population living on just 5 per cent of the city’s land. In other cities, with less public land available for ‘encroachment’, slum densities are even higher and the urban land distribution statistics even more inequitable. With or without ‘improvement’, these are not statistics to be proud of in a democratic welfare state.

It does appear that humaneness is just a clever cover-up for keeping large and growing numbers of (poor) people in (very little and very sub-standard) place. For the ‘righted’, such as squatter settlements, unauthorized colonies with tiny plots or industries in places not meant for them, the Right to Stay is tantamount to confinement and being shortchanged on the equitable benefits of planned development. The ‘saviours’, besides getting to look ‘humane’ (and at times honoured for some clever new idea for ‘poverty’ or ‘governance’ interventions within the ambit of the Right to Stay), get to control more urban real estate for their own benefit and the benefit of their cronies. Land meant for low-income housing, flatted factories, free schools, etc., can thus be spared for more lucrative forms of development, such as high-income housing, up-market commerce and elitist institutions. Of course, these are also ‘unplanned’. But the very versatile Right to Stay can easily be extended to them as well—in the name, this time, of pragmatism and the very tempting ‘revenue generation’ through ‘regularization fees’. In the capital, for instance, very posh but very illegal banquet halls, nursing homes, unauthorized colonies and farm houses have all been or are up for some sort of regularization.

Violation of urban laws has become not just the accepted but the expected way of city life and retroactive ‘regularization fees’ (incidentally, seldom actually recovered) has become a substitute for proactive urban planning. Such rampant contempt of law by people and its willful modification by those in charge of law keeping through all manners of ‘amnesty schemes’ does not augur well for urban governance. Nor does ‘regularization’ do very much more than protect private investments made in (illegal) buildings as it does not—and at times can not—come with improvements in facilities like water, power, parking, etc.necessary for makinga meaningful difference to quality of life at the settlement level.

The Right to Stay has contributed immensely to the vote banks and note banks of politicians and indirectly benefitted those who benefit from politicians in ways not intended in the constitution. But the cost of these ‘benefits’ has been the slumming of our cities. The terrible price we have paid for them was graphically illustratedby none other than Mother Nature.

* * *

On Republic Day in 2001 an earthquake, reported variously as measuring 6.9 or 7.9 or 8.1 on the Richter scale, struck Gujarat.40 For weeks the tragedy and the politics of the disaster made front page and prime time news. There were accounts of anguish, reports of rescue and relief, tales of typical tardiness and the terrible, terrible toll. There were comparisons with the Centre’s response to the devastation caused by a cyclone in Orissa fifteen months ago. (It was reported that Gujarat was being treated better because it was rich and a bastion of the BJP, and because the quake occurred just before the annual budget.) There were explanations as to why foreign aid was being freely offered (earthquakes, unlike plague, are ‘global’ disasters and the Gujarati diaspora is powerful by ‘global’ standards) and accepted (our ‘globalizing’ nation was ‘opening up’) .

In all this reportage, however, the one theme which is of relevance to the present discussion is that it was not the earthquake itself but the buildings that had taken lives.41 This was, of course, something everyone had known all along. But this time urban India sat up and took note, because the buildings that collapsed were not humble huts in some previously unheard of place; they were the all-too-familiar tall and small residential and commercial buildings which dot the urban landscape of all Indian cities, the buildings we all work and live in. Plansto become state-of-the-art with ‘specially trained staff and imported equipment to handle any type of disaster’ did not sound impressive and urbanites wanted answers to questions about damage prevention.42 What if a quake shook Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune? Were the buildings safe? Not quite, we were toldby the experts.Many of our cities are on shaky ground and most buildings were ‘vulnerable’.43 Why? Didn’t we have the technology to build safe buildings? Didn’t we havelaws and guidelines to ensurethis? We did have the technology and the laws, we were told. In fact, we could build buildings designed to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 10, our expertise in this was ‘next only to USA and Japan’, and in Japan an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 had not killed anyone.44 Our first building code for earthquake-safe construction was dated 1962, our bylaws required structural stability certificates, our research agencies had guidelines for safe buildings. In 1997, a vulnerability atlas had been prepared and circulated for states to make special bylaws and disaster management plans where necessary. The epicentre of the Gujarat earthquake was an already identified hot spot and building height had been restricted there.

Once again earthquake experts wererepeating what they had been saying for decades about safe buildings and safe building codes and guidelines.45 Unfortunately, they were ‘just’ scientists and ‘science is a political orphan’.46 Politically more savvy ‘urban experts’ ‘who cannot differentiate between the front end and back end of science’were in charge.47 And it was in their charge that so many buildings had killed so many with many more waiting to do the same.

In Maharashtra, despite big earthquakes in Koyna (1967) and Latur (1993) and a risk assessment and disaster management plan (demonstrated in Ghatkopar) thereafter, most buildings are unsafe because of the use of inferior materials and neglect of zoning regulations.48 In and around Delhi, where the risk of earthquake is 4 on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the most risk-prone), things are no better. East of Delhi, an entire township has forgotten it has been built in a seismic zone because officials have ‘not received a copy’ of guidelines for earthquake-safe building.49 In a posh township south of Delhi, the stateTown Planning Department often issues requisite certificates without verifying if norms have been followed.50 In the rest of Delhi also ‘people hardly show any respect for bylaws and have made deviations which have a bearing on the structures in case of seismic activity’.51 In Ahmedabad, many of the collapsed buildings had poorer building material, greater number of floors, shallower foundations, fewer beams and columns, heavier overhead water tanks and bigger balcony projections than were permissible or required under the laws.52

High-rise buildings built by private builders were not the only ones to collapse and thereby kill, but they were the ones to do so in a most photogenic way. They contributed to a part of the toll, but they attracted total concern. In Delhi, Jagmohan, who had directed bylaw amendments immediately after the earthquake, ordered assessment of structural safety standards in (only) high-rise buildings in Delhi.53 In Hyderabad, the corporation had already ‘requested’ (only) builders to submit structural stability reports on ‘humanitarian grounds’.54 In Ahmedabad, a leading daily launched ‘a serialized campaign to expose guilty builders’.55 In Gujarat, it was especially convincing to blame the ‘builder-politician nexus’, which was ‘omnipresent’ when the earthquake happened, with many in power being either ‘builders-turned-politicians or politicians-turned-builders’.56 In Ahmedabad, the development authority chairman was a builder and a political appointee. In Vadodara, the deputy mayor was a builder. In Rajkot, Surat and Bhavnagar, state ministers held ‘considerable stake’ in real estate.57 Builders came to the aid of political parties in successive elections. And the parties came to the aid of the builders between elections, allowing them to build at will. State Home Minister Haren Pandya candidly confessed that 80 per cent of Ahmedabad’s new high-rises did not have building fitness certificates and less than three months before the catastrophe, the government had issued an ordinance to legalize all illegal constructions in all the six major towns of the state.58 The build up to the ordinance followed a by-now familiar path. Hearing a clutch of PILs, the high court had asked the government to enforce existing laws. The government knocked down a wall here, cleared a basement there, but left big builders alone. The court went on getting exasperated and directing action. The government went on being defiant and making excuses. The court initiated contempt proceedings against key officials.59 On grounds of pragmatism, humaneness and bonus revenue benefits—one-size-fits-all justifications for the Right to Stay—all illegalities were sanctioned. These included, for instance, a swimming pool on the tenth floor and a penthouse extending 16 feet, which fell off three months later, dragging down an entire block with it.60 The rest, as they say, is history or, rather, in this case, debris.

* * *

The Right to Stay comes at a cost. The collapse of unintended, albeit ‘regularized’, constructions in Gujarat demonstrated this most graphically. But more subtle costs are borne even in less extraordinary circumstances. It’s very likely that the excessive construction that collapsed in the earthquake were already causing visual squalor and infrastructure stress; perhaps the booming and excessive real estate market that propelled it had driven others into slums. Indeed, the twin application of the Right to Stay for the poor and the powerful is connected in a vicious cycle perpetuating the slumming of our cities. ‘Regularizing’ wasteful use of land by some in unintended ways drives others to unintended sub-standard options, and ‘regularizing’ sub-standard options spares more land for wasteful unintended use. Seen from this perspective, squalid shanties and plush farm houses are responsible for slums in our cities in equal measure. And when unintended development and its regularization becomes the norm, slumming becomes the dominant urban motif.

The aftermath of the Gujarat earthquake also provided an insight into the politics of development, which thrives on the Right to Stay. The roulette style post-earthquake ‘introspection’ stopped at the ‘deadly builder-politician nexus’ with the certainty of a fixed spin. This ‘deadly nexus’ survived the catastrophe in Gujarat. Many, whose flats had collapsed, were not complaining as the ‘very powerful’ builders had either offered them free flats or intimidated them.61 Officials were under pressure from the ‘builders’ lobby’ to give ‘a clean chit’ to buildings that had developed cracks. The ‘lobby’ was also ‘apparently now interested in the rebuilding work’.62 Three weeks after the quake, in Delhi ‘six national parties, together with sixteen regional ones, confabulated for three hours’ about disaster management. Not once did they refer to ‘the insidious builder-politician nexus’.63 It was at the door of this obviously indifferent and seemingly invincible nexus that we, shaken but not stirred, had placed the blame for the devastation and were now politely waiting—for what? For it to obligingly self-destruct?

Meanwhile what about all the others without whose help the builders and politicians would not have managed to make the deadly Right to Stay a central tenet of contemporary urban development? Quality of urban development is, after all, the collective responsibility of several professions and institutions. Politicians and builders, for instance, do not design (illegal and unsafe) buildings, architects do. They do not regulate urban-scape, urban arts commissions do. They do not whet project-planning details, planning and funding agencies do. They do not point out and fill up technical performance gaps, specialist civil society agencies do. What hadthey all doing?

Architects were telling us on television and in newspapers, about dangerous bylaw violations, inappropriate materials and elements, and the virtues of traditional buildings.64 In Ahmedabad, they said, problems may also have arisen in buildings by ‘local architects of world class’.65 In Delhi, some were glad to say, ‘now, people are willing to pay us considerably more to design quake-proof houses’.66 Structural engineers did ask how architects had ‘the expertise to hold forth on earthquake resistant buildings, when it is an extremely specialized form of civil engineering’.67 More importantly, how come they failed to notice obviously unsafe features in buildings till after they had collapsed. After all, things like too much glass or too little column size, extra floors or larger water tanks than allowed, etc., are quite visible, especially to the trained eye. Had they complained to local bodies or to the Council of Architecture? Had they taken collective professional action against erring professionals? No. Instead, they waited for the buildings to collapse and then told us they knew why they had collapsed and how they ought to be rebuilt. The Council of Architectureeven organized ‘a demonstration of transit shelters’ and invited a bunch of ministers for a look-see.68

The Delhi Urban Arts Commission announced it would study the ‘damage potential’ of glass in the event of an earthquake. After having cleared and cheered classy glass buildings for years, it now remembered glass was unsuited to the capital’s climate and energy shortages and posed traffic hazard and environmental problems. Like a capricious sultan, it rejected the entire ‘sudden rush’ of a ‘large number of proposals’ for glass buildings. That was its post-quake contribution.69

Much was forthcoming from HUDCO which has a countrywide network of regional offices and ‘building centres’ for transfer of building technology from ‘lab’ to ‘land’. It also runs training workshops in areas related to disaster mitigation. After the Gujarat earthquake (as after the Jabalpur one of 1997 before that and the Latur earthquake of 1993before that), HUDCO announced (besides financial assistance) a ‘technology package for building earthquake resistant houses’.70 Commenting on the devastation, HUDCO Chairman V. Suresh said, ‘It shows that building design norms were violated rampantly’.71 And on Delhi’s vulnerability, Suresh lamented the fact that the Master Plan (revised in 1990) ‘does not recognize the fact that Delhi lies in the high seismic zone’ (according to the atlas prepared in 1997).72 Presumably HUDCO, even as it went about earthquake resistant designing, technology transfer, training and funding, had not noticed all this before the quake.

From NGOs we had the (honorary) director of Ahmedabad-based Disaster Mitigation Institute saying he had ‘not seen a single building with any earthquake resistant features in these areas’, leaving one to wonder about the role of his institute.73 We also heard a lot of ideas about rehabilitation from the director of the Delhi-based Hazards Centre, leaving one to wonder who might be more interested in less glamorous prevention.74

All around us were ‘earthquake experts’ pontificating about buildings—and more eagerly about rebuilding. That these wise men and women had not shared their building wisdom before the buildings collapsed was partly because most had been busy otherwise pleading for the Right to Stay. Many architects, for instance, had been criticizing Jagmohan’s demolition initiatives in Delhi. A member of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (though not a planner) had been running the Master Plan down and arguing that industries be left alone. HUDCO, of course, had authored the DNSP, the greatest official advocacy so far of the Right to Stay. The Disaster Mitigation Institute had been playing an advisory role in Ahmedabad corporation’s slum-upgrading project on the lines of the one in Indore. The Hazards Centre was making expert comments in support of unauthorized colonies, non-conforming industries and slums in Delhi. Just three days after the earthquake in Gujarat, the lieutenant-governor of Delhi, conceding ‘the problem arises in case of unauthorized buildings’, reiterated his keenness to regularize unauthorized colonies and said the government (yet to complete even routine ‘development’ in colonies regularized in 1977) would ‘ensure that all safety standards are followed’.75

Brought up on Bollywood and tutored to trust the rest, the ‘builder-politician nexus’ is the one we like to blame. The fact, however, is that in the collective responsibility for quality in our cities, there are many other places where the buck could stop. But, with most partners in the business of development aligned together in favour of the very convenient and very fashionable Right to Stay, the buck does not stop anywhere, dragging the city ever deeper into the chaos of unintended (‘regularized’ or otherwise) development, making it ever slummier.

Right to Resettlement

Resettlement is the proviso on which those warring for (others’) Right to Stay agree to peace negotiations.

The concept of Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) is really one that has its origin in large regional infrastructure projects such as dams, highways, canals, etc that require displacement of people already settled in places that are designated ‘project sites’. Mandarins of nation-building design projects for greater common good and, say, villagers get labelled ‘project affected persons’ (PAPs) requiring resettlement. As the earthmovers and hammers and chisels of ‘development’ redraw the maps that society and nature have drawn, R&R is meant to soften the blows.

The style and standard of R&R has often led to enduring conflicts. Yet, the concept of R&R, as applied to settled communities that got in the way of development for the greater common good is, if the greater common good is itself acceptable, not flawed. But it makes sense only when applied to people who were settled in the past and need to be unsettled in the present for some future purpose. This description does not fit, for instance, urban slums.

Cities are not built over slums. Slums grow in cities. The genesis (but only the genesis) of slums lies mainly (but not exclusively) in work-seeking migration from rural areas. In a sense, those who come to cities to find work are already PAPs of lopsided rural development. Unsettled from their villages they come to the city in the hope of becoming (re-)settled, but end up remaining unsettled in slums for years, even generations, watching urban development pass them by. How can then one speak of resettling those who have not quite settled?

The distinction between settling and resettling the poor is not just a semantic fine point. It is, rather, the basis of a dangerous distortion of the equation between the welfare state that is mandated to take care of the needs (including shelter needs) of its citizens on the one hand and, on the other hand, the majority in the city. Willingness to resettle slum dwellers has the flavour of a favour. It implies that the state is willing to condone slum dwellers for having encroached on land meant for other (others’?) public purposes and even give them a puny place to live (though it may seem like ‘rewarding a pickpocket’). Settling slum dwellers on the other hand would amount to admitting that the state and its partners have failed in housing supply to the point that backlog has exceeded cumulative supply and, as a corollary, that slum dwellers are not culprits but victims in lopsided urban development. This truism, for obvious reasons, cannot be admitted by slum saviours.

The Right to Resettlement that they are willing to bestow upon slum dwellers in lieu of the very suspect Right to Stay is thus founded on a distortion of facts. This distortion snowballs, like a growing carry-forward error, into distorted standards, sites and priorities for resettlement.

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Let us consider standards first. In April 2000, addressing the thirtieth annual day function of HUDCO, Jagmohan drew attention to the appalling fact that 19 per cent of Indian families live in less than 10 sq. metres and 44 per cent in urban areas live in just one room.76 Immediately afterwards, he and HUDCO resettled thousands of slum families from Delhi in 12.5 sq. metre plots in Narela. With full ground coverage and individual toilets and kitchen spaces, these can accommodate one small room at ground level. There is, of course, scope for vertical expansion and that alone justifies the label of ‘solution’ instead of ‘problem’.

In the massive slum resettlement exercise in Delhi in the mid-1970s, plot sizes were 40 sq. metres to begin with and these did not include space for toilets, as community toilets were envisaged. Since then plot sizes for resettlement have been steadily declining. On the other hand, there has been a move to do away with the law that places an upper limit on urban land holdings, which the rich have been finding restrictive. Architects and planners, instead of crying foul over the ‘flexibility’ of the lower limit of habitable dwelling sizes, seem to take it as a ‘challenge’ to their creativity in being able to design tiny units. In Narela, HUDCO’s design wing was quick to put up a ‘demonstration house’, presumably to ‘demonstrate’ that it couldfit on the puny plot.77

The small resettlement plots do not even compare well with the space that people occupy in slums. The land under slum settlements in Delhi, as mentioned earlier, is around 4,000 hectares and the number of slum families is variously estimated between 400,000 to 600,000. Even with the higher estimate of number of families, the gross area occupied per family on average comes to 66 sq. metres. In planned housing areas, the net residential area (which is the area under house plots and appurtenant services and excludes major roads and facilities) is abouthalf the gross area. In slums, with little land under other facilities, net residential area tends to be even greater, on averagewell over 33 sq. metres. In other words, in our welfare state, the majority population in the city isonly being resettled (instead of beingsettled) and that tooin a manner in which its territorial share in urban land is reduced to less than what it heldwhile it was unsettled.

Of course, this is justified on grounds of the alternative being ‘better’ because it is ‘planned’, which is normally understood to mean it is orderly with housing services in place. But this claim merits scrutiny on two counts. Firstly, and most obviously, it is not entirely true. In almost every large-scale resettlement project there are protests about infrastructural inadequacies. In Hyderabad, reservations were being expressed in mid-2000 about Nandanayanam,a large-scale resettlement project on the outskirts of the city. It was said that for residents the transition was ‘like jumping from the frying pan into the fire’, the place was ‘turning into a sprawling slum with garbage dumps and unhygienic conditions increasing by the day’, and there had been ‘three deaths in as many months’ on account of snakebites.78 Narela being Jagmohan’s baby attracted more publicity and more flak. A lawyer filed a PIL on the lack of schools and later petitioned the NationalHuman Rights Commission about ‘inhuman conditions without any civic amenities’.79 A federation of non-governmental and community-based organizationsin Delhi visited Narela and came out with a report on which a newspaper account ended with the line ‘altogether Narela is the new name of hell’.80 An unfazed Jagmohan invited the press and parliamentarians to come see the good work, saying that ‘teething troubles in Narela are the natural consequences of shifting and these occur everywhere’.81 He had a point. Bus services, schools and other infrastructure do improve after a period of ‘teething’ even in higher income housing and no one was loudly protesting the small plot sizes that would remain unchanged forever.

The problems of Narela were, by no means, exceptional. In 1962, Delhi’s Master Plan, had cautioned that housing with sub-standard plot sizes was prone to deteriorating into slums, In 1990, the revised Plan noted this had happened in ‘resettlement’ colonies. 82 ‘Development works’ in these colonies (‘developed’ up to a quarter century ago) continue to remain on the agenda for political promises and parleys. In August 2000, for instance, with the spotlight fixed on problems in Narela, Delhi Congress general secretary alleged that the BJP-controlled corporation was not implementing development projects in resettlement colonies, which it considered Congress vote banks.83 It is generally true that current slum resettlement projects usually end up looking not very different from the slums they replace. It is little wonder that most people resist efforts to resettle slum dwellers near their housing areas on grounds of ‘proliferation of slums’ in their neighborhood. In a public meeting in July 2000 in Delhi, for instance, the general feeling was that villages on the fringe of Delhiwere ‘being given a short shrift’ by relocating polluting industries or slums to them.84 Later, in another resettlement initiative in the capital, residents of the adjoining Sarita Viharflats protested.85 Earlier in Surat, the corporation’s effort to shift slum dwellers to Panchsheel Nagarwas thwarted when residents of that area turned hostile.86 In Mumbai, residents ofMalvani formed a citizens’ council to object to the proposed resettlement of slum dwellers from the Sanjay Gandhi Park to an area in their vicinity.87 Why, even civic administrators speak of ‘slums and resettlement colonies’ as if they were the same, rather than, say, of ‘resettlement colonies and other planned colonies’. This brings us to the second big hole in the claim of resettlement being ‘planned’ development. Sure, projects are planned, but by cutting corners on planning standards, the result of the planning is not what planners call planned.

Consider a resettlement area of one hectare divided into 12.5 sq. metre plots. Even allowing a generous half of the area for parks, open spaces, etc, this comes to a minimum of 400 plots, i.e., a density of 400 families (or 2,000 persons counting an average of five persons per family) per hectare. ‘Planned’ densities recommended in the Master Plan for Delhi are up to 400 persons per hectare.88 Developments that reach five times the recommended densities can only be called planned crowding, not planned development. And planned crowding, from the point of view of infrastructure and health, is no better than unplanned crowding in slums.

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Next let us consider resettlement locations. All decent master plans make provision for low-income housing in locations all over the city. The original Master Plan for Delhi, for instance, proposed ‘suitable sites in several zones’ where the poor might ‘put up cheap houses but the layouts would have to be according to standards’.89The underlying logic of this is that we do not expect or want the poor to stay poor forever. As their circumstances improve, we believe, they will be able to improve the condition of their houses, but the layouts have to match future standards from the beginning because they cannot be changed. For existing squatters, the Plan recommended they be relocated in various parts of the urban area so that they are integrated’ and said that ‘it is of the utmost importance that physical plans should avoid stratification on income or occupation basis’.90

In the 1970s (by when the proliferation of slums had become a conspicuous feature of urban landscapes) master plans even demarcated relocation sites. In Indore, for instance, nearly 400 hectares of land were specifically earmarked for rehabilitating squatters in ‘resettlement zones’ in various parts of the city.91 In the 1980s, when the Master Plan for Delhi was being revised, it was again reiterated that housing ‘should be integrated. The community (about 1 lakh population) may contain a complete cross section of the income groups’ and should have at least ‘25 per cent as site and services development and about 45 per cent housing up to 2 rooms dwellings to provide shelter for low income families’.92

Besides such provisions in master plans, there have been other policy provisions regarding land reservations for the urban poor. But, like in the story of industries in Delhi, all or most of this land—especially in ‘good’ locations—has been stolen from the kitty of the poor and sizeable resettlement projects are invariably on city outskirts. In Hyderabad, recent relocatees complained that they ‘have now to travel 20 km for doing our old job. Is it possible?’93 In Delhi those who have been resettled say that in the places from where they had been shifted, they had ‘many takers for their skills. At Narela, in the midst of empty LIG and MIG flats, they find themselves without any source of livelihood. The city is too far away and ill-connected for daily commuting’.94

Settling the poor in large areas meant only for them does not make planning sense. Integration of various classes of people in residential neighbourhoods has been the recommended option in master plans thus far because it has obvious advantages. For the poor it offers better access to livelihood opportunities as well as to quality infrastructure—roads, water, schools, hospitals, etc. For the non-poor it offers better access to the services offered by the poor. In general, it is in line with the principles of democracy. Segregation, on the other hand, has corresponding disadvantages, as demonstrated by the high incidence of all manners of ills—ranging from epidemics to riots—in large resettlement colonies.

Former prime minister V.P. Singh hit the nail on the head when he wrote in an edit-page article that Narela-style resettlement ‘tears asunder the vital link between the place of residence and employment’ and ‘the relocated population is bound to sell their tenements at alternative sites and return to the city’.95 Of course, this was not a new nail and it had been hit on the head for decades. More importantly, what V.P. Singh wanted was already provided for in Delhi’s statutory master plan (just as more than what he was demanding on the policy side was already provided forin the DNSP). But slum saviours, once they decide to don that mantle, are in such a rush to save that they find no time to pick out weapons for such saving from the arsenal of existing laws and policies.

Instead of demanding that the Delhi Master Plan be implemented to the advantage of slum dwellers, V.P. Singh said, ‘there is no denying the flawed nature of the Master Plan’ and that it ‘is biased in favour of the elite’.96 This was also the view of several NGOs, who arranged and attended, along with several of ‘their’ slum dwellers, a convention on the Master Plan in June 2000 where they had invited V.P. Singh as well Sheila Dikshit. Slum dwellers presented their ‘problems’ (including electricity billing and water problems). Sheila Dikshit reiterated her ‘new’ slum policy. V.P. Singh reiterated his demand for a slum policy. All this had little to do with the Master Plan per se, which is mainly about land use planning. Yet everyone said or implied that the Master Plan was no good and, although they seemed to neither realize that the Master Plan already provided the basis for what they wanted nor had anything better to suggest, they gave themselves the mandate of making a ‘people’s master plan’.97

Jagmohan, on the other hand, was justifying Narela on the basis of his vision of having a Delhi as per the Master Plan. But this vision was only half the vision. While he saw that slums were on land meant for other uses as per the Master Plan, he failed to see what was happening on the land meant to house the poor in order to preempt slums(much like what had happened in the matter of industries). To add to the chaos, others joined in to react to the Plan-bashers with their own brand of defense of the Plan. In a rejoinder to V.P. Singh’s article, for instance, H.D. Shourie, an eminent PIL lawyer, said, ‘When the master plan was prepared it was never envisaged that our population would continue exploding’.98Shourie failed to mention that the Master Plan had envisaged a population of 12.8 million for Delhi in 2001, which had been over shot only by a few hundred thousand. And that included not just migrants in slums but migrants in, say, public sector undertakings, corporate houses, etc,that the Master Plan had suggested should come up outside Delhi to facilitate regional dispersal to limit population of Delhi to within its carrying capacity. What seemed to worry him about V.P. Singh’s criticism of the Plan was its implied ‘threat’ that ‘vast acres of land near India Gate in Lutyen’s Delhi should be utilized for housing the poor’, including ‘acres of land attached to the bungalows’.99 This, incidentally, is something the Master Plan (and not, say, H.D. Shourie) prevents us from doing. He argued his own planning logic for the slum problem and concluded, ‘These people have to be resettled in properly developed colonies. These can only be created at places where this will be practicable and feasible, in the surrounds of Delhi, preferably near the towns that exist in the neighbourhood of Delhi; the government must organize transport facilities to enable the workers to come from these colonies to Delhi for work’. Ironic, that the eminent lawyer’s views were completely at variance with the vision of the statutory Master Plan whose criticism he had set out to rebut.

What was being played out was a tragi-comedy. What Jagmohan was doing in Narela was not in the spirit of Delhi’s Master Plan. Yet he and his supporters were defending his actions in the name of the Plan. And those protesting them were bashing the Plan when they might have done better to demand its implementation. Narela was like any other usual resettlement project. But it became a unique missed opportunity. With V.P. Singh and Jagmohan—both men of immense stature—taking opposite stances on the Master Plan and resettlement, the spotlight was briefly fixed on the issue of resettlement locations. But when stars start writing their own stories, the plot rarely progresses logically.

* * *

Next let us consider resettlement priorities. The accepted practice of resettling slum dwellers (or, for that matter, industrial units) instead of settling them has led to a distortion in not only what they get by way of ‘planned development’ and where, but also whether they get it at all. Notwithstanding oft-repeated political and global commitments to shelter and planned development benefits for all, the majority in the city is not settled routinely, but only when ‘special circumstances’ make the Right to Stay untenable. Often, however, the reasons given for resettlement are themselves untenable. In the case of Narela, India’s National Report for the Istanbul+5 UNCHS (Habitat) Conference 2001 says in a box titled ‘Narela: A Happy Example of Relocation and Rehabilitation’ that slum dwellers were relocated from ‘the most untenable and disaster prone sites in Delhi’.100 That, of course, is not entirely true as the same ‘untenable and disaster prone sites’ were found appropriate for non-slum development such as government housing, office complexes, etc.

A long-standing ‘special circumstance’ in which slums become ‘untenable’ is when a land-owning agency, after years of failing to develop or protect its land, wakes up to a need to do so in ‘public interest’, requiring clearance of slums that have come up while it was napping. Reducing the welfare state to a poor manager of real estate, slum policies in major cities hinge on contributions of land-owning agencies as and when they ‘need’ their encroached land. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi was going toadd a premier facility in 2000 only after paying Rs 12 crore to the corporation’s Slum Wing as ‘land-owning agency contribution’ towards resettlement cost to get 20 acres of its land cleared of 5,000 huts.101 Mumbai (and air-travelling populace elsewhere) heaved a sigh of relief when the Airports Authority of India agreed to pay Rs 32 crore to Mumbai Corporationtowards the cost of resettling2,550 tenements on its land so that aircraft that had to take a longer runway in order to circumvent a thicket of slums could cut down taxiing time.102

This financial arrangement for resettlement means one government agency pays another out of public money. Moreover, the payment is seen as a favour to the encroacher, rather than as penalty for the agency’s laxity in minding public land. The Airports Authority, for instance, while it had to shell out crores in Mumbai, got away scot-free in Jaipur when its land was ‘cleared’ to allow for expansion in order to make the airport an international one. The Authority had been allotted the land five years ago but had not barricaded it or done anything else to stop much of it being encroached. Yet, an obliging welfare state stepped in with free help to take care of the ‘favour’ to encroachers in, of course, the wider public interest of giving a boost to the state’s key industry, tourism.103(Incidentally, a few weeks later, the Airports Authority’s international airport in Hyderabad was served notice for attachment for non-payment of property tax dues.)104

Besides public interest activities of land-owning agencies, court orders—often in public interest litigation (PIL)—also lead to ‘special circumstances’ for resettling slums. In the 1970s PIL was conceived as a ‘strategic arm of the legal aid movement intended to bring justice within the reach of those who, on account of their indigence, illiteracy and lack of resources, were unable to reach the courts’.105 In the years that followed, through PIL, citizens have found ‘new ways of expressing their concern for events occurring at the national level and exerting their involvement in the democratic process’.106On the other hand, there has been criticism that ‘the judiciary is overstepping the boundaries of its jurisdiction’ and that ‘PIL is being misused by people agitating for private grievances in the garb of public interest and seeking publicity’.107 In cities, where problems are complex, conflict greater, efforts more ‘visible’ and ‘experts’ aplenty, PIL seems to be becoming a form of surrogate governance. (In Delhi, in 2000, so much of the government’s activity in so many matters boiled down to securing compliance of court orders in PIL that one might have been excused for thinking of it as the court’s bailiff.) Whether all this is in the spirit of what was the envisaged role of PIL is for legal professions to judge.108The point here is that priorities for slum resettlement have lately been determined in no small measure by court orders, often as a result of PIL seeking removal of slums. This has also extended to appeals to politicians to get slums removed in public interest.

In Delhi, in February 2000, residents invited Jagmohan to see the squalor around the Kalkatemple and within days more than 5,000 huts on the adjoining land (earmarked green in the Master Plan) were surveyed for resettlement.109 In October, he inaugurated a park with ‘modern concepts like rain water harvesting, meditation centre and jogging tracks’ developed by HUDCO and the Central Public Works Department at a cost of Rs 1.62 crore on 4.5 acres previously under a slum and announced a similar park on another site from which slums had been shifted to Narela.110 In November, ‘to the relief of residents of about 150 group housing societies’ who had been ‘pressurizing the local administration’, plans to shift four slum clusters on land meant for parks were announced.111 In Ghaziabad, in September, the development authority removed 500 huts (‘causing difficulties to local people’) from the green belt.112

Indeed, a lot of slum resettlement has lately been triggered (through courts or otherwise) by a penchant for painting the town green. At the same time, governments ever-willing to throw out slum dwellers to add a dash of green have not been averse to taking away a dash of green as well. In 2000 there was talk about forest land being denotified, a development authority reportedly sold some forest land as residential plots (obviously not for resettling slum dwellers), and V.P. Singh said about the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, ‘Mark my words, the land cleared of hutments will be given to private developers’.113

In 2000, with so much resettlement going on in Delhi and Mumbai, slums likeYamuna Pushta and Ghatkopar were not priorities. Those protesting the evictions and resettlement from other, safer slumssaid, ‘Stop demolitions during the rains’.114But no one asked, ‘Why not resettle Pushta or Ghatkoparfirst? What shade of green—of grass or of money—can mean more than the lives of people?’

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Obviously, the Right to Resettlement in its present form does not offer much to the ‘righted’. Till not very long ago (before the ascendancy of the Right to Stay), however, it did attract a lot of funding and professional interest. As a result, one will find a resettlement project or two proudly sitting in the portfolios of many great or wannabe great Indian architects. The Aranya project in Indore designed by a team led by eminent architect B.V. Doshi is one of the best known resettlement projects. It is also one of the most jargonized.115

Aranya’s ‘design philosophy’, for instance, is based on six ‘broad goals’: vitality, imageability, equity, efficiency, flexibility and feasibility. ‘Specific issues’ explicated are: indigenous character of built form, innovative approach to sites and services, reconsideration of norms and standards, optimization of land use, marketability of land and cross subsidy, economy of infrastructure and road network. The design addresses these ‘broad goals’ and ‘specific issues’ at ‘various levels of hierarchy’—township, sector, community, cluster and dwelling—through ‘checklists of detailed guidelines’. The result is a layout design for a site of 86.24 hectares in which 58 per cent of the land is under 6,543 plots. Highlights are a mix of plot sizes with two-thirds of them earmarked for economically weaker sections, a town centre to provide a ‘focus’, and sector-level spaces designed as flowing pedestrian greens.

Implementation of the project by the Indore Development Authority started in the late 1980s. In 1990 HUDCO supported the designers of the project to fully ‘document’ it. In 1995 Aranya was honoured with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for its innovative and sensitive planning and design for the benefit of over 40,000 poor people. Being widely acclaimed, besides widely documented, Aranya has become an essential case study for students of low-income housing design and it would not be an exaggeration to say many young professionals aspire to design just like that.

The truth about Aranya, however, is that its winning elements simply do not exist on the ground. There is no town centre, no flowing pedestrian greens and no 40,000 poor people living there. These exist only in the literature on Aranya and for more than a decade we have been celebrating a drawing, a design idea, that we are not sure will work because it has not yet been tested .

In the beginning of 2000,a professional architectural publication featured an article onAranya as it really exists on the ground.116Nevertheless, the celebration of this non-existent wonder continues and in the beginning of 2001, in the midst of all the pontification that followed the devastation in Ahmedabad, there was also an eulogizing reference to Aranya. Yoginder K. Alagh, co-founder of the premier school of architecture in Ahmedabad, said of B.V. Doshi, also co-founder of the same and Ahmedabad’s best known architect, ‘Doshi showed in his Aranya experiment that we have to help the community to organize itself’.117

The Aga Khan Award put Aranya in a class apart, but in the world of resettlement there are several other small wonders of architecture and creative English that look very different in literature and in reality. Besides professionals, such ‘disconnect’ between design and reality also owes to politicians who are given to announcing, to the accompaniment of glowing descriptions, resettlement projects for the poor and then never finding the time to look back and see whether they really worked. For instance, by 2000, a ‘dream housing project’ launched two years earlier by the prime minister for the poor in his constituency had turned into a scam, with the development authority allotting houses to the non-poor.118Narela, even as it is underway, has already made it in our country report as a ‘happy’ example. The fact, however, is that glamorous and glamorized resettlement projects for a few hundreds or even a few thousands in cities with enormous housing backlogs only bring glory to slum saviours, not succour to cities fast turning into slums.

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Finally, let us consider a real urban resettlement—one meant for the well settled rather than for the never settled—as a case in point to show that at least some slum saviours do understand sensitive resettlement when it pleases them.

This ‘initiative’ came from an all-party house committee for accommodation for Lok Sabha Members of Parliament (MPs).119The committee had decided (following flak from the supreme court) that MPs who have lost elections must vacate official residences. But in April 2000, after ‘sustained pressure from all parties’, it decided that unsettling MPs settled in official housing even after they were no longer MPs was ‘a very harsh decision’. MPs, after all, ‘have their children in local schools, their families move here and there is a change of base’ for them. Moreover, on being elected, every MP ‘thinks he will be in Delhi for the next five years. But as has been seen in the past three tenures of the Government, no single House has completed the full term’. For that, naturally, one can’t blame the MPs. Accordingly, for ‘humanitarian reasons’, MPs in the parliamentary housing committee decided that former MPs must be resettled in Delhi and, in order that they were not hastily unsettled, there should also be transit accommodation for new MPs.

This would mean that the capital would have far more Lok Sabha MP houses than the number of Lok Sabha MPs. The parliamentary committee picked up 3 hectares of prime land (costing Rs 8 crore), taking care to ensure that it was in the heart of Delhi so that the honourable MPs would not be inconvenienced too much by having to drive long distances.

Here then is an example of good practice in sensitive resettlement for the direct and indirect benefit of those who had been rejected through due electoral process by the people of India. For the ordinary people of India (who also have ‘children in local schools’, besides no official cars to transport them), however, resettlement continues to happen in 12.5 sq. metre plots in some wilderness just outside the city, it happens rarely, it happens in lieu of settlement, and it happens as a favour.

Right to Minimum Services

In most Indian cities slums as old as the ‘modern’ urban planning passing them by can be found. In these you will find youngsters whose grandfathers (even great-grandfathers) set up home and whose fathers (even grandfathers) were at some point given a precious token or card as proof of their existence. Veterans here will tell you things about planned development that no development research would. They know because they were part of the process—as cheap labour in stone quarries, brick kilns, construction sites, hot-mix plants, industry, transport—although they are still waiting for a share in the product of planned development.

They are still waiting because slum saviours are still ‘experimenting’. Governments announce the Right to Stay and then take it away when they ‘need’ to. Others demand the Right to Resettlement and then crib about the resettlement and demand the Right to Stay. Somewhere down the line, slum saviours bestowed upon slums ‘the right to minimum services in the mean time’. The (valid by any standards) argument for this was that every citizen has a right to basic services. The logic of services being ‘minimum’ related to them being ‘in the mean time’. But ‘mean time’ has become forever and ‘minimum’ has become the norm.

How this happened is, again, not the subject of this discussion, which focuses on what this right means to the righted. Suffice to say it was linked to the ascendancy of (in place of the right to equal stakes in planned development) other rights already described. Besides, from the perspective of slum saviours, it is extremely convenient that still-waiting slum dwellers actually appreciate cheap minimum services occasionally doled out to them. There is also the vast institutional paraphernalia—across government, non-government, donor and lately even corporate sectors—that has ‘developed’ to deliver these services and it, too, has to be ‘sustained’.

From the point of view of slum dwellers, however, minimum services in slums remain what they always were—inadequate, sub-standard options, good only ‘in the mean time’ and illogical and unjust as permanent solutions. Nevertheless, the minimalist notion of services for the poor has come to extend also to facilities meant for them even outside slums, as manifest in ‘minimum’ care of the schools and hospitals that only they use. And, lately, it has been stretched even further, with sites housing facilities for the poor being taken over (in the name of city asset management) and ‘landless options’ being extended to the poor (in the name of greater access and outreach).

* * *

First let us consider minimalization of infrastructure services within slums. Years ago many city governments started providing cheap brick paving and common water points and toilets to somewhat alleviate the miserable living conditions in slums. The provisions were ‘cheap’ because they were meant to be temporary and they were ‘common’ because, in addition, there was no space for individual facilities. Now, every couple of years, especially when an election is around the corner, brick paving is renewed and common taps and toilets are repaired, cleaned, added. Very likely there are many settlements where cumulative resource costs of ‘temporary’ works over the years far exceed the costs of standard works for the given population.

While slum saviours’ perceptions of slums and services in them being ‘temporary’ are changing, constraints of space and high densities remain. However, as with diminishing plot sizes, slum saviours view these constraints as challenges to their creativity. Take the case of toilets. Even without, but especially after, experiments like Indore it is clear that individual toilets in high-density settlements with puny plots cannot realistically be expected to work. But public toilets (fine in public places or even as makeshift arrangements for a while) cannot become satisfactory all-time everyday options. Predictably, a nagging problem with slum infrastructure has been poor maintenance of public toilets and the impracticality of individual toilets.

The only real solution can be alternative settlement options in which individual toilets are feasible. Instead of working towards this, slum saviours have applied themselves to more creative thinking. Enter the much-celebrated concept of pay-and-use toilets. The idea might just have struck some jet-setting saviour while dropping a coin into the box placed outside public conveniences at some international airport. To pay to pee is all very fine there, but to have to forage for change each time nature calls is a bit much. But, by the time this realization might have dawned, the concept was already on its way to becoming a global paradigm and no U-turns are allowed on that one-way street. So there was more creative application of the mind to come up with more right answers to the wrong question. In some places women and children were allowed to use the pay-and-use toilets without paying. In some places monthly family passes were tried in place of each-time payments. In some places communities were involved in running the pay-and-use toilets. Efforts were even made to ‘improve the demand’ by ‘making communities aware of the need’ for toilets.

In 2000, in Mumbai, after decades of watching its public toilets quickly become dilapidated, the corporation was again working on making public toilets work. A ‘slum sanitation programme’ that had failed to take off in the past four years had now been ‘modified’ by Additional Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar. According to him, the scheme did not work earlier because different agencies were involved and it would work now because ‘all these agencies will work together’.120 The World Bank would provide Rs 40 crore, the state would chip in Rs 10 crore, and MLAs and corporators could also chip in from their development funds. The corporation would construct the toilet blocks. Residents, through community-based organizations, would deposit in advance Rs 100 per adult in a bank and take responsibility for maintenance as well as payment of electricity and water charges. The government was talking of identifying ‘places where there is a demand’, of ‘need to first change the mentality of the slum residents to use the toilets’ and of constructing toilets only ‘where the slum dwellers have agreed to maintain’ them.121 All this cleverness, of course, does not change inherent problems. All it means is that next time public toilets become defunct, slum communities will have only themselves to blame.

Provision (in lieu of any standard shelter option) of sub-standard minimum physical infrastructure in slums, compounded by neglect of its maintenance (in the guise of community responsibility or otherwise) is the main reason for persistence of squalid conditions in them. Further, the continuing debate on more creative and contemporary minimalist options also does not leave much time for actual provision. In Delhi, in 1999-2000 for instance, Rs 6 crore was allocated for providing water and sewer facilities in resettlement colonies and slum clusters. The allocation was later increased to Rs 13 crore. But till January 2000 only Rs 4 crore had actually been spent.122 Obviously, in the pursuit of the Right to Minimum Services for slum dwellers, activity gets precedence over impact, ideas get precedence over activity, the fashionable prevails over the sensible and the slumming of our cities continues.

* * *

Let us consider an example of how shortchanging the poor on basic services extends to minimum care of services meant for them even outside slums.

In many cities, government schools serve mainly (if not only) slum dwellers and are in a shocking condition. In the capital, we came to know exactly how shocking the conditions were in mid-2000 whena special session of the deliberative wing of the MCD followed a special survey. Delhiites learned that 1,818 MCD-run primary schools catering to 900,000 predominantly poor children functioned out of 1,264 school buildings. There was a shortfall of about 2,224 classrooms. Around thirty-five schools ran entirely out of tents and several others were partially tented. Twenty-five school buildings had been declared dangerous and most others were poorly maintained. Five hundred and twenty-one buildings received no water supply or very little water owing to low pressure; 628 had no arrangement for water in toilets. Provision of toilets was inadequate and their condition usually deplorable. One hundred and forty-four school buildings had no electricity due to non-payment of dues, 85 had no electricity metres, 255 had defective meters, 466 had defective wiring, 650 had defective fans and 771 had defective tubes and bulbs. In some places, the approach road was in bad shape and in some water logging in the monsoons was bad enough to require suspension of classes. There was a shortfall of 1.58 lakh dual desks and students usually sat on floor mats. In many schools teachers were forced to do the same as there was a shortfall of 12,000 chairs.123

Half a century after free and compulsory primary education was enshrined as a directive principle in the Constitution of India, these statistics came up in the capital at the first-in-over-three-years special session of MCD following the special survey that followed—you guessed it—court orders in a PIL. In 1998, the All India Lawyers’ Union had sought the Delhi High Court’s intervention to improve the condition of MCD-run schools. The ‘BJP-controlled’ MCD had predictably passed the buck to the Congress government, saying it needed Rs 47 crore to improve the schools and in April 2000 the court asked it to file a report on the status of amenities in them.124 The Delhi government filed an affidavit saying Rs 23 crore had been allocated to MCD to change tent schools into pucca schools. Of this Rs 14 crore was unused, another Rs 10 crore had been forwarded to the MCD for the current session, and Rs 90 crore had been allocated for education during the current financial year. The government claimed it had never denied that MCD required funds. In May 2000 the court directed the chief secretary to prepare a status report on the condition of MCD schools.125

The court was also hearing a related matter arising out of an incident in February 1999 in which a girl was shot in her school premises by an assailant who had entered through one of several collapsed portions of the boundary wall. Still, repeated letters from the principal to the education minister and the public works department asking to mend the wall went unanswered as did representations to the police about anti-social elements around the school. The parents of the victim then petitioned the high court and it was then, more than a year after the incident, that the police instructed a beat constable to patrol the area around that school during school hours.126 It was even later that the Delhi government, on the court’s directions prepared a status report on the condition of boundary walls in all 433 government girls’ schools. It turned out that 203 schools had no walls or broken walls or walls made of tin-sheets. In July 2000, the government told the court that it would raise the height of the boundary walls.127 Around the same time, a section of an MCD primary school building under construction collapsed on the first day of the academic session after summer vacations.128

Meanwhile, the Delhi government had priorities other than the obvious. In January 2000, ‘after analyzing the problems’ Sheila Dikshit’s government, in its inimitable style, had ‘come to the conclusion that both teachers and students seem to be lacking in “motivation”’.129 Delegating financial powers to principals and a three-week training were on the anvil to ‘motivate’ teachers. Sheila Dikshit also spoke of ‘incentives’ like free uniforms and scholarships, especially stipends for the girl-child, to ‘motivate’ students.130

Also in January 2000, half way through winter, MCD was getting down to distributing 50,000 uniform jerseys amongst its 900,000 students. (Its suppliers were supposed to have delivered 200,000 jerseys in December 1999, but the chairperson of the education committee said, ‘we don’t want to discourage them by announcing penal action’.) The MCD planned ‘different colours of uniforms in different MCD zones’ in the next session.131 Decisions on ‘different colours’ were expeditiously taken and announcements to supply uniforms to all students made.132 But our elected representatives continued to squabble over awarding the contract for uniforms.133 In December, with three months of the academic session remaining, Municipal Commissioner S. P. Aggarwal said firms given the contract for 5.13 lakh jerseys would deliver by 22 February 2001.134 Again, students had to wait till the end of winter for jerseys and till the next academicyear for uniforms.

School bags promised by the MCD also remained just a promise after the prime minister presented the first bag in 1998 at a function to mark the fortieth anniversary of MCD.135 In September 2000, MCD announced it would start distributing bags to all primary students from 14 November (Children’s Day).136 In October, the municipal commissioner said four firms would supply 8.9 lakh bags at a cost of Rs 8 crore.137 But till December end only 1.5 lakh bags had been supplied.138

Likewise, even as allocations under the centrally sponsored mid-day meal scheme have been increasing, distribution has been deteriorating. In 1996-97, Rs 8.31 crore out of the Rs 9.5 crore budgeted was utilized. The corresponding figures were Rs 8.47 crore out of Rs 14 crore in 1997-98, Rs 7.8 crore out of Rs 12 crore in 1998-99 and Rs 4.85 crore out of Rs 18 crore in 1999-2000. 139The number of days (out of 210 school days) on which meals were provided on average in these years were, respectively, 153, 150, seventy-two and thirty-seven.140 The ‘meal’ had been reduced to biscuits—at times so sub-standard that children were throwing them ‘into the gutter because they caused stomachaches’.141 The Delhi government, given to lateral approaches to solving problems arising out of its own lapses, was considering ‘decentralizing’ the scheme. School principals (lacking in ‘motivation’ to teach) were to be made responsible for procuring and distributing mid-day meals (comprising ‘nutritious and fresh items’) with involvement of (largely non-existent) parent-teacher associations. This was to be tried out on an ‘experimental basis’ in 2001.142

Meanwhile, performance of MCD school students in school-leaving examinations was, again, poor in the results announced in June 2000.143 In August, a month after schools had reopened after the summer vacation, it was reported that only 50 per cent of the maintenance and repair works that were to be carried out during vacations had been completed.144 It was also reported that there was a shortage of at least 1,000 teachers.145 At the same time, cyber-savvy Sheila Dikshit inaugurated a computer education laboratory in one school to launch her government’s programme to impart computer education in government schools.146 At the end of August, Sheila Dikshit ‘expressed her dissatisfaction’ with the department’s performance. She did pull up officials in the matter of constructing rooms in schools but was reportedly ‘more upset’ about the progress of the computer education programme.147

In September, MCD conducted a survey and found over 100,000 out-of-school children.148 Normally about 25,000 children enroll in MCD schools every year. After its survey, MCD ‘established an all-time record by taking its enrolment figures to over 80,000’.149 Officials said that the introduction earlier in the year of English as a subject (besides the promise of free uniform, bags, books and mid-day meals) had motivated people to send their children to MCD schools.150 Councillors continued to fret about shortage of teachers and space and condition of school buildings.151 MCD said its school buildings had place for only 55,000 students and officials had been directed to assess where double shifts and tents were needed.152 Meanwhile, especially since fresh enrolments were not necessarily to schools with surplus space, children just had to be crammed into already overcrowded classes in many schools. Efforts were also being made, in compliance with court orders, to improve amenities, though much remained to be done.153

Clearly, for the poor, the government seems to view enrolment and incentives for enrolment as an end in itself rather than as a means for universalization of primary education.

In urban areas, where slum children and their parents and teachers are exposed to—even if they are excluded from—a quality learning environment, decent school buildings and teaching is really all the ‘motivation’ that is needed. Yet our governments are keen on more contrived ‘incentives’ like free uniforms, books, bags and meals. For those in charge, such schemes add to vote banks (as they are converted to political largesse) and to note banks (through typical tendering procedures in currently corrupt urban India). But for slum children these ‘benefits’ do not mean much—not merely because they normally do not materialize.

* * *

Lately the prolonged neglect of school buildings has been doing more damage than denial of reasonable quality learning environment. It is adding school education to the shelf of ‘landless’ options on offer tothe poor. NGOs have been running shanty schools, even street schools, in slums.154 Now even governments have taken to doing the same or similar.

In August 2000, the MCD, ‘taking a major initiative’, decided to set up ‘extended schools’ with community help.155 In these schools the ‘community’ provides accommodation and MCD provides teachers, textbooks, uniforms, mid-day meals, etc. Necessitated by the decision to enroll 80, 000 to 100,000 students with infrastructure to accommodate only 55,000, this was based on a ‘suggestion’ of the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), which felt ‘children should not be deprived of education due to lack of infrastructure’. SCERT and an NGO called Navjyoti coaxed MCD into opening one such school in Yamuna Pushta. Even though the ‘Congress and BJP leaders had been fighting over who was going to inaugurate’ it, the school was nothing great. It had the usual problems of MCD-run schools, with just a headmaster and one teacher to take care of 150 students, no water and toilets, and students beginning to drop out within two months. And it had the additional problem of a learning environment that included, among other things, an uninterrupted view from the classroom of groups of men (not just local residents) taking drugs.156

In a similar, much larger exercise in Indore in 1999 the government ‘opened’ 103 schools in slums by writing school in chalk on the doors of community halls built under the ODA slum project.157 This was part of a larger exercise of ‘rationalization’ in which, it was claimed, poorly attended schools were being closed and merged to optimize teacher-student ratios. (Similar ‘rationalization’ exercises seem to have been on elsewhere as well—possibly as a result of a consensual paradigm of the type that emerges in sectors with a lot of foreign funding—such as in Srinagar in 2000.)158 In Indore, however, availability of readymade community halls made it possible for the government to claim that new schools were being opened where they were needed. The administration was proudly claiming these were ‘no-cost’ schools and appealing to charitable organizations to contribute floor mats, etc. (In a similar vein, in Delhi in 2000 the mayor was asking citizens to help make municipal schools in their areas better.)159 But the inadequate, unequipped and run-down community halls in Indore could hardly attract (or accommodate) the 90-odd students necessary to justify (on the basis of a desirable teacher-student ratio) the two teachers posted to them. Most had fewer students than the schools closed down on grounds of poor enrollment.

It is not clear why those who can think of asking the ‘community’ to find a pathetic site and civil society to charitably contribute other essentials do not think of asking fancy private schools that are given public land at throwaway prices to share their facilities with government schools instead. In Indore, one of the government schools closed due to ‘rationalization’ was running out of a private school that had earlier been allotted land on the condition that a government school would also be run from the same premises. In Delhi, private schools are allotted land at cheap rates and the lease clearly states they are to offer free seats to the underprivileged in lieu. Although most schools close by afternoon and their buildings and playgrounds could easily be used afterwards in the spirit of this, it does not happen unless the school chooses to do so, not out of a legal obligation but out of charity. On the other hand, several private schools use their premises after school hours for activities for the benefit of their own students or even for others and charge a fee for the same. In effect, many private schools in Delhi are making money out of the land allotted cheaply to them while failing to do by poor children that for which it was allotted cheaply. Yet, those in government and non-government committed by mandate or choice to universalizing primary education (and, presumably, themselves parents of children attending private schools) set up pathetic ‘extended schools’ on illegal community land in slums rather than enforce legal land lease provisions for the same in well-equipped schools.

From the point of view of slum children, who do not have many opportunities to come out of the squalor around their homes, location of their schools within their slum is worse than almost any other alternative. For others, such as the land mafia, it is better for not using real estate. After all, even many government schools occupy sites that have become prime land which many feel are wasted on the poor.

In Delhi, the attempt of an unscrupulous builder to grab a school site made news in May 2000.160 In Indore nearly all the schools closed in 1999—though they had varying levels of enrollment and dilapidation—were centrally located. For schools that were not closed but which occupied commercially valuable land, the administration, in order it said to pre-empt encroachment by others, decided to carry out commercial development on part of the site on its own. The difference between illegal encroachments by others and commercial development by the state, the state said, was that the latter would raise much-needed resources for education. This was being done even as available resources were not being fully used and the revenue raised in similar manner on at least two earlier occasions had not been ploughed back into education.

In seminars the idea of putting part of the premises of poor children’s schools to commercial use in order to ‘raise resources’ for educating them may appear clever or practical or radical. In the real world, it can look rather shameless. A government girls’ school in Indore, for instance, has (as a consequence of such a ‘radical’ measure) outside it one Ding Dong Bar, purportedly rendering indispensable assistance for raising revenues so that we might be able to educate our daughters. Also in Indore, as testimony to the kind of choices we are learning to make, on 18 October 2000, an eighty-six-year old TB sanatorium that had served the poor well was demolished to make way for an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) for more futuristic public good.

The events leading up to this bordered on the bizarre.161In February 1998 the state decided to hand over the sanatorium land to IIM by shifting the sanatorium with its 159 inmates. This was despite the fact that 125 acres—more than what most existing such campuses else where occupied—in the vicinity had already been allotted to IIM, which had nowasked for some more. In March, a PIL was filed against this decision. In its reply, the state said the land would not be given to IIM without first creating ‘an equal or better’ sanatorium on ‘22.654 hectares’. The court dismissed the PIL on 20 July. On 18 July (two days before the court order) secretary, human resource development informed the chief secretary that the PIL had been dismissed and patients should be transferred or discharged. In November a contempt petition was filed. In December three patients filed a separate petition. On 3 December the court ordered status quo. On 23 January 1999, the state issued orders to stop transfer and discharge of patients. The court dismissed the contempt petition and disposed of the patient’s petition in view of these orders.

In July 1999, a house-building society made a representation to the collector against allotment of the 20-acre alternative site that the state had identified for the sanatorium. Ten months later, in May 2000, a PIL was filed on substantively similar grounds. On 26 June the court ordered status quo on the site for the proposed sanatorium. This precipitated a PIL praying that the existing historic sanatorium be modernized. On the other hand, pressure from IIM was growing. On its first convocation in March 2000 its director said if the land promised to it was not allotted soon, the board would consider shifting IIM out of Indore.

In August the state forcibly discharged most patients. This created a furore. The local press reported on it for days. The ‘star’ was Satish Pathak—a sputum positive, multi-drug resistant TB patient who had started living at the railway station after being forcibly discharged. The petitioners, who had approached the court for allowing the sanatorium to remain on the original site, approached it for intervention. On 17 August the court ordered status quo. On the other hand, on 20 August, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (the ministry that takes care of IIMs) Murli Manohar Joshi and his Minister of State Sumitra Mahajan (also MP from Indore) visited IIM. Joshi said ‘hurdles in the way of establishing IIM would soon be removed’.

On 8 September the court directed that the state ‘will not refuse to admit any patient and shall admit the discharged patients and also shall not transfer the patients’ from the sanatorium. On 12 September Bhagwandas came to be admitted, but was told the authorities had no instructions. Along with others like him, he settled down outside to wait. On the evening of 13 September he turned critical. On the morning of 14 September he died—not quite outside the sanatorium (for he was kindly allowed in), but not quite inside either (for he was neither admitted nor treated).

After his death late Bhagwandas shared news space with IIM, which was threatening to leave Indore. On 16 September the director of IIM called a press conference and announced a deadline—the IIM board meeting of 3 October. Politicians across party lines joined in the mayhem to persuade it to stay and blamed one another for the ‘crisis’. On 23 September the chief minister arrived in Indore to personally intervene. Also on 23 September more patients were discharged from the sanatorium. On 26 September an intervention was filed in the court, praying for the stay on the existing sanatorium to be vacated in the context of the forthcoming IIM board meeting. On 28 September another intervention was filed, alleging that the other was by those wanting to be spokespersons for the government. A third intervention was filed by Raju, Om Prakash and Santosh, patients who had been discharged on 23 September against their wishes. On 29 September, the court declined to admit any of these interventions and modified the interim relief to say that patients would ‘be looked after better at M.R. TB Hospital’. This court order restored bonhomie between the IIM and the state. At the board meeting on 3 October, far from talking of leaving Indore, the board thanked the state for its efforts to resolve the land dispute in IIM’s favour.

On 13 October Raju, Om Prakash and Santosh, along with others, filed a fresh petition to challenge the court’s order of 29 September. Among other things, it was argued that the sanatorium occupied less than a twentieth of the land to be given to IIM and that IIM had already been handed over more than 170 acres, but had not started construction. It was prayed that IIM be directed to start construction (estimated by IIM to take two years) on the rest of the land and the state be directed to build the ‘equal or better’ alternative sanatorium (estimated by the state to take one year). Once the new sanatorium had been constructed, the existing sanatorium could be shifted and the remaining land handed over to IIM in accordance with the state’s undertaking of 1998. On 16 October the court dismissed the petition in the first hearing, though it did direct the state to admit Raju, Om Prakash and Santosh in M.R. TB hospital ‘for best care’. (Incidentally, M.R. TB Hospital was not being able to provide the court-directed ‘better’ care on account of its capacity constraints. Even with ‘special’ court orders for ‘best care’, Raju, Om Prakash and Santosh were refused admission. Eventually two of them were admitted but, since there were no beds, had to settle for their ‘best care’ on the floor in the corridor.)

On 17 October the court vacated the stay on the sanatorium site while disposing of the PIL that had sought modernization of the sanatorium in its present location. The court order said, ‘TB patients can be better looked after by a chest centre’ that the government now proposed within the 6-acre compound of the M.R. TB hospital. Within hours of the court order the state that had taken nearly a week to act on court orders for re-admitting patients in September, resulting in the death without treatment of Bhagwandas, made arrangements for demolition of the sanatorium. On the morning of 18 October a large police force and bulldozers were deployed. Despite the claims of the government about the poor structural condition of the eighty-six-year old building, explosives had to be used. By evening, the state, in a remarkable display of efficiency, was done with its work for the good of Indore.

Later, less than a month after the state had dramatically demolished an eighty-six-year old building whose heritage worth had been highlighted in the court, Jagmohan would visit Indore and declare it a ‘heritage city’. Raju would die of TB receiving his court directed ‘best care’ on the floor in the corridor of M.R. TB hospital. The petition he and others had filed would go to the supreme court.162 The IIM would say it needed the hilltop that the sanatorium had occupied to build an ultra-modern complex, complete with a glass ‘skywalk’ that was disabled friendly

But all that is not part of this story. This story ends with the good old sanatorium that had to go (even though it was vintage and sweet and even though it occupied only a twentieth of a site that was twice as much as what other older IIMs have) to make way for a shiny new IIM. The shiny new IIM will be a monument to what the rights of the Little People can achieve for the Big People. The sanatorium enjoyed the Right to Stay—in utter neglect—for as long as there was no need to do anything about it. It was then given the Right to Resettlement the minute a fancy IIM came to town and started demanding more and more land like a petulant child. Then the Right to Minimum Services was invoked, downsizing 22 hectares to 20 acres to a part of 6 acres unlikely to be delivered, simply by discharging most patients and then claiming the rest did not justify a full-fledged sanatorium.

* * *

For the urban poor minimal ‘landless’ options—outreach services instead of hospitals, street education instead of proper schools, slum upgrading in place of housing—have all becomevery fashionable. They are also one way streets. Once all urban land is lost to less essential, more glamorous uses there will be no turning the slumming clock back. After all it is impossible that an IIM built on an excessive 200 acres or a new-fangled cyber park or any of the plush farm houses large beyond land ceiling limits will ever be dynamited to make room for a TB sanatorium or a municipal school or a low-income housing project if and when our welfare state happens to change its mind about what is needed for urban welfare and to stop urban slumming. 

  • 1. Title of the discussion paper prepared by his Jan Chetna Manch at the end of April 2000.
  • 2. ‘Jhuggi fire causes train diversion’, Times of India, 3 May 2000; ‘Over 200 jhuggis gutted in E. Delhi’, Hindustan Times, 3 May 2000.
  • 3. ‘Blackout in S. Delhi due to jhuggi fire’, Times of India , 11 April 2000.
  • 4. ‘410 shanties razed in Ultadanga fire’, The Statesman, 19 January 2000.
  • 5. ‘Major fire renders thousands homeless’, Times of India, 31 January 2000; ‘Fire in slum cluster’, Hindustan Times, 31January 2000.
  • 6. ‘Four-year-old dies in Pushta fire’, Times of India , 22 February 2000.
  • 7. ‘600 jhuggis gutted in East Delhi’, Hindustan Times, 8 April 2000.
  • 8. ‘Minor girl dies in Kishan Garh jhuggi fire’, Hindustan Times, 17April 2000.
  • 9. ‘200 jhuggis gutted’, Times of India, 21April 2000.
  • 10. ‘Fire service outposts in slums to continue till October’, The Hindu, 5 July 2000.
  • 11. 'No provision for fire safety in slum clusters: Affidavit’, Hindustan Times, 6 November 2000.
  • 12. Verma, G. D., ‘Slum upgrading: Of paradigm shifts and missed lessons’, Architecture+Design, January 2000.
  • 13. ‘As Yamuna swells, it’s time for annual exodus’, Indian Express, 21 July 2000.
  • 14. ‘People evacuated from Yamuna banks’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 11 June 2000.
  • 15. ‘Sheila launches slum development project’, Hindustan Times, 31 January 2000.
  • 16. ‘Wield lathis for your right, VP exhorts jhuggi dwellers’, Hindustan Times, 17 April 2000.
  • 17. ‘Walia seeks upgradation of jhuggi clusters’, Hindustan Times, 21 July 2000; ‘Walia demands for JJ Cluster upgradation’, Daily Pioneer, 21 July 2000; ‘Walia demands better deal for jhuggi dwellers’, Times of India, 21 July 2000.
  • 18. The lead NGO in the project Sheila Dikshit had launched had admitted at an NGO meeting just weeks before that it had so far worked in the rural sector and had only just forayed into urban slums and had no completed slum projects, nor any slum projects in Delhi.
  • 19. ‘Rain torments Mumbai, entire slum swamped’, The Hindu, 14 July 2000.
  • 20. ‘Poor can't be wished away, Mr. Bhujbal’, The Hindu, 17 July 2000.
  • 21. ‘Sonia to visit victims of landslide in Mumbai’, Daily Pioneer, 15 July 2000.
  • 22. ‘Sonia calls upon NGOs to help Ghatkopar landslide victims’, Hindustan Times, 15 July 2000.
  • 23. ‘Sonia visits landslide-affected people’, Times of India, 16 July 2000.
  • 24. ‘Sonia visits landslip victims’, The Hindu, 16. July 2000; ‘Sonia visits landslide-affected people’ (Note 23 above).
  • 25. ‘BMC will soon implement slum sanitation plan’, Times of India, 7 March 2000.
  • 26. ‘Encroachments behind flood fury in Hyderabad: Naidu’, Daily Pioneer, 1 September 2000.
  • 27. ‘Haphazard urban planning leads to disaster’ , Times of India, 27 August 2000.
  • 28. ‘Floods a result of encroachments, says Naidu’, Hindustan Times, 28 August 2000; ‘Drive to remove encroachments on nalas’, The Hindu, 1 September 2000; ‘Encroachments behind flood fury’ (Note 26 above). .
  • 29. ‘Naidu to launch poverty eradication programme’, Daily Pioneer, 16 June 2000
  • 30. ‘Floods: Rs. 300-cr. sought from HUDCO for housing’, The Hindu, 3 September 2000.
  • 31. ‘City's slums to get face lift’, The Hindu, 20 October 2000.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. This was told to a social worker who has been working in the slum for several years by the project consultant at his public lecture in May 1999 in response to her question to him about a current threat of eviction.
  • 34. ‘British up-uchayukt ne gatividhiyon ki jankari li’ (‘The British High Commissioner took stock of activities’), Nai Duniya, 9 October 1991; ‘British uchayukt dwara bastiyon ka nirikshan’ (‘Inspection of slums by British High Commissioner’), Nai Duniya, 24 October 1992.
  • 35. ‘Shekhar nagar mein 15 lakh ke vikas karya ka shubharambh’ (‘Inauguration of works worth 1.5 million in Shekhar Nagar’), Nai Duniya, 9 May 1992.
  • 36. ‘Jansahyog se basti mein paryavaran sudhar’ (‘Environmental upgradation in slum through community participation’), Nai Duniya, 8 June 1994.
  • 37. ‘Jhuggivasiyon dwara shramdan ki anukarniye misal pesh’ (‘Slum dwellers set example of voluntary work’), Dainik Bhaskar; 23 June 1997; ‘Chandrabhaga pul ke kshetra ke rehvasiyon ka sarahniye kadam’ (‘Appreciable initiative of residents of the Chandrabhaga bridge area’), Nav Bharat, 23 June 1997.
  • 38. ‘Indore ki 174 tang bastiyon ke 50 hazar parivaron ko sthayi patte’ (‘Permanent leasehold tenure for 50,000 families in 174 slums in Indore’), Swadesh, 26 July 1998; ‘Indore mein ODA ki 174 bastiyon ko sthayi patte’ (‘Permanent leasehold tenure for ODA’s 174 slums in Indore’), Indore Samachar, 26 July 1998; ‘ODA project ki 174 bastivasiyon ko sthayi patte’ (‘Permanent leasehold tenure for residents of the ODA project’s 174 slums’), Nai Duniya, 26 July 1998.
  • 39. ‘People living in degraded and dehumanised conditions’, Times of India, 28 March 2000; Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi Perspective-2001, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi, 1990, p. 3, p. 45.
  • 40. Mahapatra, Richard, ‘Republic quaked’ in Down To Earth, 28 February 2001, p 43. (The Indian Metereological Department puts the magnitude at 6.9, and France, China and the US measure it at 7.9, later upgraded to 8.1.)
  • 41. In the print media this point was made already on the day after the news first broke (‘When havens turn into hells’, Indian Express, 28 January 2001.)
  • 42. ‘Delhi sees the danger, gets into action mode’, Times of India, 30 January 2001.
  • 43. ‘19,000 city buildings vulnerable’, Times of India, 30 January 2001; ‘90 per cent new buildings unsafe in Pune, warn expert’, Indian Express, 31 January 2001; ‘Tremor will hit Dwarka, trans-Yamuna the worst’, Times of India, 31 January 2001.
  • 44. ‘Taming the tremors: Better planning can save lives’, Times of India, 31 January 2001; ‘The importance of the structural engineer’, Indian Express, 2 February 2001; ‘Earthquakes don't kill, buildings do’, Indian Express, 6 February 2001.
  • 45. ‘When havens turn into hells’ (Note 40 above). ‘Who’s afraid of earthquakes really?’, The Hindu, 31 January 2001; ‘Spirit is willing, flesh is missing’, Indian Express, 31 January 2001; ‘Earthquakes don’t kill’ (Note 44 above).
  • 46. Agarwal, Anil, Editorial in Down To Earth, 28 February 2001.
  • 47. Agarwal, Anil, ‘We can build N-bombs, why not safe houses?’, Times of India, 4 February 2001.
  • 48. ‘Implement building codes to prevent quake disaster’, Times of India, 5 February 2001.
  • 49. ‘Old faults in new Noida township’, Times of India, 1 February 2001.
  • 50. ‘NRI house-hunters ask the obvious question’, Indian Express, 5 February 2001.
  • 51. ‘Quake-proof rules not adhered to’, Times of India, 31 January 2001.
  • 52. ‘BJP blamed for building collapses’, Times of India, 20 February 2001; ‘Cases filed against Ahmedabad builders, contractors’, Times of India, 3 February 2001; ‘Probe against builders may be a non-starter’, Times of India, 6 February 2001.
  • 53. ‘Check all high rise buildings, says Jagmohan’, Indian Express, 5 February 2001.
  • 54. ‘MCH tells builders to examine stability of old structures’, The Hindu, 30 January 2001.
  • 55. ‘Builders’ carrot-and-stick to homeless’, Times of India, 12 February 2001.
  • 56. ‘Moolah cements the builder-politician nexus’, Times of India, 13 February 2001.
  • 57. Ibid.
  • 58. ‘Built to collapse’, Indian Express, 12 February 2001.
  • 59. ‘Gujarat govt's answer to illegal bldgs: Regularise them’, Indian Express, 10 February 2001; ‘If the builders were crooks, Gujarat govt was an accomplice’, Indian ExpressIndian Express, 8 February 2001; ‘Gujarat govt's answer’ (Note 59 above); ‘If the builders were crooks’ (Note 58 above).
  • 60. ‘What lies beneath’ (Note 60 above).
  • 61. ‘Builders’ carrot-and-stick’ (Note 55 above).
  • 62. ‘Moolah cements’ (Note 56 above).
  • 63. ‘Committee or calamity?’, Indian Express, 20 February 2001.
  • 64. ‘No more glass houses: Danger ahead’, The Hindu, 30 January 2001; ‘90 per cent new buildings unsafe in Pune’ (Note 43 above); ‘Tap local wisdom to rebuild’, Indian Express, 31 January 2001; ‘Seismic storey: The house that Delhi built’, Times of India, 2 February 2001; ‘Why do we, the super-educated people, ignore basic principles?’, Indian Express, 7 February 2001.
  • 65. ‘Probe against builders may be a non-starter’, Times of India, 6 February 2001.
  • 66. ‘Builders explain safety of high-rise flats’, Times of India, 6 February 2001.
  • 67. The Importance of structural engineering (Note 44 above).
  • 68. ‘Shelters examined’, Times of India, 4 February 2001.
  • 69. ‘No more glass houses’ (Note 65 ahead); ‘Can Delhi’s glass houses shake off a quake?’, Times of India, 1 February 2001.
  • 70. ‘Taming the tremors’ (Note 44 above); ‘HUDCO to rebuild quake-hit areas: Rs 1,000-cr plan’, Indian Express, 30 January 2001; ‘Jagmohan gets quake-alert, cracks the whip on defaulters’, Times of India, 30 January 2001.
  • 71. Mahapatra, Richard, ‘Republic quaked’ (Note 40 above), p. 47.
  • 72. ‘Who’s afraid of earthquakes really?’ , The Hindu, 31 January 2001.
  • 73. Mahapatra, Richard, ‘Republic quaked’ (Note 40 above), p. 47.
  • 74. ‘On Firm Ground’, Times of India, 4 February 2001.
  • 75. ‘Delhi sees the danger’ (Note 41 above).
  • 76. ‘State of urban infrastructure disconcerting: Jagmohan’, Hindustan Times, 26 April 2000.
  • 77. Photograph of the same was in a folder with other photographs that was circulated to the press persons taken to Narela in July
  • 78. ‘Resettlement colony turns into a slum?’, The Hindu, 29 June 2000.
  • 79. ‘Notice to govt on lack of schools in Narela’, Indian Express, 8 July 2000; ‘5,000 kids fight losing battle for basic right: Education’, Indian Express, 12 July 2000; ‘NHRC help sought to end Narela colony’s plight’, Asian Age ( Delhi Age), 4 August 2000.
  • 80. ‘Narela colonies lack civic amenities’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 10 August 2000.
  • 81. ‘Jagmohan announces constructive schemes’, Indian Express, 17 July 2000; ‘We’ve been sent to wilderness: Slum dwellers’, Hindustan Times, 17 July 2000; ‘Resettled slum dwellers hopeful’, The Hindu, 17 July 2000; ‘Jagmohan to MPs: Come, see what I have done for poor’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 8 August 2000; ‘MPs to visit resettlement colonies’, Times of India, 8 August 2000; ‘Loans, schools and security for Narela families’, Times of India, 11 July 2000; ‘Narela to be developed into a model colony’, Hindustan Times, 11 July 2000; ‘No new slum, says Jagmohan’, The Hindu, 11 July 2000; ‘Jagmohan now targets squatters’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 11 July 2000; ‘Project for 60,000 displaced slum-dwellers: Jagmohan’, Indian Express, 11 July 2000.
  • 82. Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi, DDA, New Delhi, 1962, p. 27 Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi (Note 39 above), pp 6-7
  • 83. ‘Congress flays MCD for bias in projects’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 6 August 2000.
  • 84. ‘Bawana residents protest proposed landfill site’, Times of India, 10 July 2000.
  • 85. ‘Sarita Vihar residents up in arms against slums’ relocation’, HT South Delhi Live, 31 January 2001; ‘Slum-glum Sarita Vihar’, Neighbourhood Flash, 28 January-3 February 2001.
  • 86. ‘SMC's relocation plan runs into rough weather’, Times of India, 16 March 2000.
  • 87. ‘Residents protest against slum-dwellers’, Times of India, 17 October 2000.
  • 88. Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi Perspective-2001 (Note 39 above), p. 6. (The Plan recommends gross residential densities of 350-400 ppHa [persons per hectare], which would make overall density of 280-200 ppHa possible. It says ‘Still higher gross residential densities increase man/land ration marginally and should be prescribed only in special conditions’.)
  • 89. Ibid.
  • 90. Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi, 1962, p (ii) under ‘Important recommendations made in the Master Plan’.
  • 91. Government of Madhya Pradesh, Indore Master Plan (1974-91), GoMP, Indore, p. 176.
  • 92. Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi (Note 39 above), p. 6.
  • 93. ‘Resettlement colony turns into a slum?’ (Note 79 above).
  • 94. ‘Jobless at Narela: Displaced population all set to return’, Indian Express, 16 July 2000.
  • 95. Singh, V. P., ‘From garibi hatao to garib hatao, India has come a long way’, Hindustan Times, 11 June 2000.
  • 96. Ibid.
  • 97. ‘The great divide of Delhi comes to fore, once again’, Indian Express, 5 June 2000 ‘Delhi CM concerned over city migration’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 5 June 2000.
  • 98. Singh, ‘From garibi hatao to garib hatao’ (Note 96 above); Shourie, H. D. ‘Sab ko garib banao, we are Indians’, Hindustan Times, 18 June 2000.
  • 99. Shourie, ‘Sab ko garib banao’ (Note 99 above).
  • 100. Government of India, Istanbul+5 UNCHS (Habitat) Conference 2001–India: National report–Progress of implementation of the Habitat Agenda (1996-2000), Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, New Delhi, p. 9.
  • 101. ‘AIIMS to expand after retrieving land from jhuggi dwellers’, Times of India, 10 February 2000; ‘Slums slow down AIIMS project’, Hindustan Times, 5 May 2000; ‘AIIMS to upgrade transplant facility’, The Hindu, 23 September 2000.
  • 102. ‘AAI, Navy move to tackle squatters, at last’, Indian Express, 5 May 2000.
  • 103. ‘An airport for some, open skies for others’, Indian Express, 14 October 2000.
  • 104. ‘Attachment notice fails to ground AAI’, Hindustan Times, 12 November 2000.
  • 105. Desai, A.H. and S. Muralidhar, ‘Public Interest Litigation: Potential and problems’ in Supreme But Not Infallible, Supreme Court of India, 2000, pp. 159-92, p.162.
  • 106. Chief Justice A.M.Ahmadi, quoted in Desai and Muralidhar, Supreme But Not Infallible (Note 103 above), p.
  • 107. Desai and Muralidhar, Supreme But Not Infallible (Note 103 above), p. 181.
  • 108. It might be mentioned here that Justice Krishna Iyer (who had much to do with evolving the concept of PIL in the 1970s) did comment on the Sanjay Gandhi National Park case. He wrote that an environmental group ‘initiated a public interest litigation (at whose instance one is left shrewdly to guess, in a heartless megalopolis with builders whose boundless resources and stratagems beat one's imagination in currently-corrupt Bharat). The PIL, I regret, can be a wolf in sheep's clothing or an ineffectual angel espousing the causes of voiceless indigents.’ (‘Justices and justicing: I’, The Hindu, 13 November 2000.)
  • 109. ‘Jagmohan pulls up DDA officials for negligence’, Hindustan Times, 24 February 2000.
  • 110. ‘Model park inaugurated’, Times of India, 15 October 2000; ‘Andrews Ganj slum area now a park’, Hindustan Times, 15 October 2000.
  • 111. ‘Rohini slums to be relocated’, The Hindu, 7 November 2000.
  • 112. ‘500 jhuggis removed from green belt’, Times of India, 1 September 2000.
  • 113. ‘GNOIDA sells forest land as residential plots’, Times of India, 9 November 2000; ‘Cleared slum land will be given to developers’, Times of India, 15 June 2000.
  • 114. ‘Stop demolitions during the rains’, Indian Express, 17 July 2000.
  • 115. HUDCO/Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Aranya: An approach to settlement design, Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), New Delhi, 1990; Curtis, W., ‘Low-cost housing: Indore’ in Curtis, W. (ed.), Balkrishna Doshi: An architecture for India, Mapin, Ahmedabad, 1988; Das, S.K. and Meera Godbole, ‘Urban coherence and architecture of housing’ in Singh, K. and Steinberg, F. (eds), Urban India in crisis, New Age, New Delhi, 1996.
  • 116. Verma, ‘Slum Upgrading’ (Note 12 above).
  • 117. ‘Tap local wisdom to rebuild’, Indian Express, 31 January 2001.
  • 118. 'LDA’s greed shortcircuits “dream” housing project’, Daily Pioneer, 15 June 2000.
  • 119. ‘Thrown out, ex-MPs will soon have govt accommodation’, Indian Express, 10 May 2000.
  • 120. ‘BMC will soon implement slum sanitation plan’, Times of India, 7 March 2000; ‘Condition of toilets in slums to be improved’, Times of India, 9 March 2000
  • 121. Ibid.
  • 122. Govt departments not using Plan funds’, Hindustan Times, 11 March 2000.
  • 123. ‘Govt-run primary schools: A month after vacations, MCD still to finish repair works’, Hindustan Times, 3 August 2000; ‘MCD primary schools: “All tented classrooms to be replaced by March 2001”’, Hindustan Times, 12 August 2000; ‘After three years, MCD talks education and gets nowhere’, Indian Express, 22 August 2000; ‘Primary education suffers as MCD flunks’, Times of India, 22 August 2000.
  • 124. ‘MCD told to file status report on all its schools’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 25 April 2000; ‘HC seeks report on amenities in MCD schools’, Times of India, 25 April 2000.
  • 125. ‘HC wants report on MCD schools’, Times of India, 18 May 2000; ‘Court asks chief secretary to reply on MCD schools’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 18 May 2000.
  • 126. ‘Court wants list of girls' schools with broken walls’, Times of India, 19 April 2000.
  • 127. ‘Girls' school walls will be higher’, Times of India, 12 July 2000.
  • 128. ‘Under-construction MCD school building collapses’, Hindustan Times, 4 July 2000.
  • 129. ‘Delhi govt: Back to school, in letter and spirit’, Times of India, 3 January 2000.
  • 130. Ibid.
  • 131. ‘MCD will begin to distribute jerseys to students’, Times of India, 4 January 2000.
  • 132. ‘MCD to replace 2,831 temporary classrooms’, Hindustan Times, 7 December 2000.
  • 133. ‘Delhi: 8 lakh kids in MCD schools to go without uniforms’, Times of India, 20 November 2000.
  • 134. ‘Jerseys for MCD schools: Students will have to wait until summer’, Hindustan Times, 28 December 2000.
  • 135. ‘MCD’s class of 2000: On the mat’, Daily Pioneer, 27 August 2000; ‘Increased aid for MCD sought’, Times of India, 12 September 2000.
  • 136. ‘Increased aid for MCD sought’ (Note 131 above).
  • 137. ‘MCD panel okays purchase of schoolbags’, Hindustan Times, 26 October 2000; ‘Free bags for MCD school kids’, The Hindu, 26 October 2000.
  • 138. ‘Jerseys for MCD schools’ (Note 130 above).
  • 139. ‘Plan afoot to decentralize mid-day meals’, Hindustan Times, 28 May 2000.
  • 140. ‘MCD’s class of 2000’ (note 131 above); ‘Schoolkids get mid-day meals for hardly 5 days’, Hindustan Times, 6 May 2000; ‘Plan afoot to decentralise mid-day meals’, Hindustan Times, 28 May 2000.
  • 141. ‘Kids throw MCD’s midday meal biscuits into the gutter’, Hindustan Times, 4 May 2000.
  • 142. ‘Plan to decentralise mid-day meals’ (Note 135 above); ‘MCD's better deal for school children’, The Hindu, 14 November 2000; ‘Attendance not enough for promotion to next class’, Hindustan Times, 14 November 2000
  • 143. ‘Govt, aided schools still in the doldrums’, Times of India, 1 June 2000; ‘Don’t relegate government schools to the second class’, Times of India, 5 June 2000.
  • 144. ‘Govt-run primary schools’ (Note 139 above).
  • 145. ‘MCD-run schools are short of 1,000 teachers’, Hindustan Times, 19 August 2000.
  • 146. ‘Sheila opens cyber lab at government school in city’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 2 August 2000.
  • 147. ‘Sheila dissatisfied with Education dept’, Hindustan Times, 21 August 2000.
  • 148. ‘MCD to have survey on education’, Indian Express, 2 September 2000; ‘MCD plans survey to increase enrolment’, Times of India, 2 September 2000; ‘MCD survey to identify “out-of-school” children’, Daily Pioneer, 2 September 2000; ‘After a late start, MCD woos children’, The Hindu, 30 October 2000.
  • 149. ‘MCD schools’ enrolment figure rises to 80,000’, Hindustan Times, 16 October 2000.
  • 150. ‘After a late start’ (note 143 above).
  • 151. ‘Opposition slams shoddy state of municipal schools’, Hindustan Times, 12 September 2000; ‘Increased aid for MCD sought’ (Note 131 above); ‘MCD has an education target: Squeeze 2 lakh kids in same schools’, Indian Express, 25 September 2000.
  • 152. ‘MCD schools’ enrolment figure rises’(Note 144 above); ‘After a late start’ (note 143 above).
  • 153. ‘PWD to build proper school facilities’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 8 September 2000; ‘MCD report presents believe-it-or-not facts’, Indian Express, 1 October 2000.
  • 154. ‘Room with a view for slum kids’, Times of India, 3 March 2000; ‘School still a distant dream for slum children’, Times of India, 20 March 2000; ‘Under the street lights, a quiet revolution in city slums’, Times of India, 28 March 2000.
  • 155. ‘MCD to set up extended schools with people’s help’, Hindustan Times, 22 August 2000; ‘MCD plans survey to increase enrolment’ (Note 143 above).
  • 156. ‘People's effort to nurse MCD school goes waste’, Indian Express, 3 November 2000.
  • 157. Deenbandhu Samajik Sanstha, Indore Zila Sarkar’s interventions in school education: Betraying our children in the name of decentralisation and universalisation of education, Indore, 1999.
  • 158. Govt’s Operation Amalgamation to result in more closed schools’, Indian Express, 21 May 2000; ‘Here, teachers use influence to get posted in city schools’, Indian Express, 24 May 2000.
  • 159. ‘MCD primary schools’ (Note 120 above).
  • 160. ‘School survives land mafia scare’, Times of India, 10 May 2000; ‘MCD foils builder’s school-grabbing move’, Hindustan Times, 10 May 2000.
  • 161. The following description is based on what was filed before and ordered by the High Court in and on WP No. 483/1998, Civil Contempt Petition No. 177/1998, WP No. 1816/1998, WP No. 1040/2000, WP No. 1645/2000, M(WP) No. 15/2000, applications for intervention in WP No. 1645/2000, WP No. 2028/2000 and on local newspaper reports.
  • 162. SLP(C) No.159/2001.