When the slum dwellers of Sangli were first told about the plan for their relocation, the feeling of reluctance, uncertainty and insecurity had engulfed the people of 35 slums who were under the impression that they will not only lose the roof over their heads, but will also get displaced from the city. But when they were shown images of the country, the state, the city and also their slums, on the laptop on Google Earth, their doubts seemed to have evaporated.
And this was made possible thanks to Shelter Associates, an NGO that has been using the GIS and remote sensing technology for mapping poverty since1999.
Today, the NGO is busy with slum rehabilitation in Sangli with a city-wide approach and in a technologically advanced and efficient manner.
The Google Earth images are being used as a base map for digitizing slum boundaries. The map and information on the slums is incorporated on GIS and a detailed factsheet of each slum is compiled.
“Through these images, the slum dwellers could see how their slums are spread and how far they are located from several amenities such as schools, hospitals, market and station. Thus, the relocation has been planned within 2 to 2.5 kms from their current location,” said Pratima Joshi, director, Shelter Associates. The construction of the new houses have just begun and is expected to be completed by 2014. Each house will cost around Rs 2.5 lakh.
In 2009, Shelter Associates was appointed as a consultant to submit a proposal to the Government of India under the Housing and Slum Development Programmes (IHSDP) scheme for the rehabilitation of Sangli’s slum population, covering 29 slums across the city, into an integrated housing and infrastructure scheme.
Under the ongoing rehabilitation project, seven sites owned by the Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation , have been identified to shift 22 slums. So far 29 slums will be relocated.
Describing the design and layout of the new houses for the slum dwellers, Joshi states an example of Sanjaynagar slum in Miraj, “The houses are built as per their requirements. For instance, all women who reside here have a habit of making food