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Poverty Alleviation

Highest number of urban homeless in TN

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The Times of India      23.12.2010

Highest number of urban homeless in TN

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has the highest number of urban homeless, almost 7.3% of the total homeless population in the country and Chennai houses a three fourths of these, according to the 2001 census.

A recent study on the living conditions of the homeless in Chennai was conducted by the Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO) and supported by the ministry of external affairs in select pockets of the city like Parrys, Royapuram and Wall Tax Road among others. "The study was conducted as a follow up of a more detailed study done in 2003 and we selected habitations from highly populated zones for a comprehensive follow up. Most of the homeless people we identified, almost 53%, are from Zone 2 or Basin Bridge," said Vanessa Peter, program director of Action Aid, an international anti-poverty agency. According to the study which was conducted in 2003, there were over 40,000 homeless in the city and this did not include the migrants. The numbers would have gone up by now, said Peter.

"In spite of a Supreme Court order which states that every city with a population of more than 5 lakh should have at night shelters in the ratio of at least one lakh per population, only one shelter exists in the entire city which is run by an NGO," said A J Hariharan, founder secretary of the ICWO.

"The homeless or the city makers are the backbone of the city and contribute to the urban local economy and no one would survive without the support of unorganised labour. The government ought to build shelters for them at a place which will not affect their livelihood," said Peter, releasing the sample report on the condition of the homeless in the city. She also said that shifting all the homeless to Kannagi Nagar would rob them of their livelihood and affect the population dependent on them.

Speaking at the event Indu Prakash Singh, technical advisor of Indo-Global Social Service Society, said there was shortage of 24.7 million homes in the country and it was the extremely poor who did not have a house. "The homeless must assert their rights for proper housing. Poverty is a creation of the system and the structure of the society and not the fault of the poor. The homeless must be included in mainstream development by the government," he said.

The report prepared by Action Aid identified 2,545 families and 9,156 individuals practising 196 different forms of informal occupation who were living without a roof over their heads.


“Urban poor, most vulnerable to current climate variability”

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The Hindu        16.12.2010

“Urban poor, most vulnerable to current climate variability”

Special Correspondent
Sustainable and resilient cities should be focus of urban development
— Photo: K. Ganesan.

INFORMATIVE:D.B. Raju (right), Executive Vice President, Larsen and Toubro, presenting a souvenir to Karumuttu T.Kannan, Chairman and Correspondent, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, in

MADURAI: An international conference here on Wednesday called for making the Indian cities “resilient” in the backdrop of climate change and taking care of the urban poor.

“The urban poor are the most vulnerable to current climate variability such as regular floods and water shortage. Sustainable and resilient cities should be the focus of urban development,” D.B. Raju, executive vice-president (special initiatives), Larsen and Toubro, Mumbai, said.

Setting the tone for a wider debate, he pointed out that cities could be viewed as hubs of intensive resource demand, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Thiagarajar College of Engineering here, along with the Operational Research Society of India (ORSI), Madurai Chapter, is organising the three-day international conference on “Operational Research for Urban and Rural Development” from December 15 to 17. Also, the 43 {+r} {+d} annual convention of ORSI is taking place here.

Dr. Raju said that India is projected to witness a rapid demographic transition as its urban population rises from 300 million to over 700 million by the year 2050. By 2025, about 70 Indian cities are expected to have a population size of over one million.

“Mainstreaming climate resilience into urban development is essential because climate risk is one of the factors defining poverty levels, well-being, economic growth and development in an urban scenario,” he observed.

Making a fervent appeal for “climate resilient urban planning,” the L&T top official said that adequate focus had to be given to climate-sensitive sectors. “Low carbon development as an urban planning intervention has the potential to reduce energy utilisation. Green buildings entail promotion of energy /water efficiency and land sustainability,” he felt.

Dr. Raju expressed concern that Government investments for the development of infrastructure and provision of basic services had not been spatially balanced which led to high levels of inequity.

“Unplanned development in most of the fast growing urban centres of India has affected the urban poor whose access to drinking water, sanitation, education and basic health services is shrinking,” he pointed out.

Referring to the huge rise in the number of motor vehicles in India, he said that cities need to arrest their current pattern of transportation growth to bring down their Co2 emissions.

Calling for a balanced development, he suggested that urban and rural areas were only partners in progress but not competitors.

Karumuttu T. Kannan, chairman and correspondent, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, in his presidential address, said that operational research had a lot to do in public life also.

“We are living with constrained resources — be it water, electricity or pure air. Experts in operational research could come out with ideas to deal with changing situations,” Mr. Kannan said.

V. Abhaikumar, Principal, TCE; V. Mohan, president, ORSI-Madurai chapter; S.P. Nachiappan, secretary, and S. Krishnan, conference chairman, were among those who spoke.

The conference has participation of delegates from various countries, including Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Italy, UK, Taiwan, France and Canada.


Concrete houses for urban poor

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The Deccan Chronicle  24.11.2010

Concrete houses for urban poor

Nov. 23: In yet another sop ahead of Assembly polls, the state government on Tuesday announced that huts with thatched roofs in urban areas would also be converted into concrete houses over and above the 18 lakh huts being taken up for conversion in the rural areas.

Chief minister M. Karunanidhi, who reviewed the progress of Kalaignar housing scheme at the secretariat, announced that the scheme would be extended to all town panchayats. The flagship scheme of the DMK regime will be taken up in hill towns such as Ooty and Kodaikanal as special case even if the huts are covered by tins or plastic sheets.

According to a senior official, at least 2 lakh hut-dwellers stand to benefit. The state will give a subsidy of `75,000 to each hut. Instead of awarding the construction work to the contractors, the hut-dwellers would be entrusted with the work. “A detailed survey will be taken up in all the town panchayats across the state and Kodaikanal and Ooty. The beneficiaries will be given identity cards,” a government release said.

The team of officials from the rural development department, handled by deputy chief minister M.K. Stalin, got a pat from the CM for successfully completing the construction of 4,063 houses so far. Mr Karunanidhi said works have been progressing to convert 3 lakh huts as concrete tenements before January 2011. In a span of six years, all the 18 lakh identified huts would be converted to create a ‘hut-free’ Tamil Nadu.

As many as 13 districts, including Tirupur, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Sivagangai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Karur, will be declared hut-free districts by January.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 05:42

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