Under the ambitious slum rehabilitation scheme of the state government, 43,000 slum dwellers will be handed over flats within the next four years in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Allegations of corruption and mismanagement have been raised against the slum rehabilitation authority (SRA), mainly regarding the delay in handing over the flats. Partha Sarathi Biswas speaks with Dr Sanjay Kolte, additional chief executive officer of SRA, to learn more about the scheme and the problems plaguing the system.
How many schemes are undertaken by the SRA in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad?
Within the limits of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), the SRA has undertaken the rehabilitation of 133 slums in the next four years. A total of 42,000 flats would be constructed during this time frame. Of these, 130 schemes are in PMC and three are in PCMC. We have completed the construction of seven buildings with more than 2,000 flats. Eligibility checks are being carried out for 32 slums at present.
Corporators have levelled charges of mismanagement and inordinate delay in the various schemes undertaken by the PMC. What do you have to say about this?
The SRA is an independent authority under the state government working towards the rehabilitation of the slums in the state. As such, the SRA does not need to coordinate much with the local bodies as we develop our schemes independently. When we are developing the schemes on land with non-developmental reservations, we do ask for no objection certificates from the local body. In the case of PMC, five NOCs are pending with it, which are delaying the projects. The SRA has managed to work quite well since its formation and there have been no delays in handing over the flats.
When it comes to preparing the eligibility list, allegations of fraud have surfaced time and again. What are the plans to prevent frauds?
There are various checks and balances within the SRA to prevent any fraud while preparing the eligibility list. The competent authority, who is an officer of the rank of deputy collector, is responsible for checking the eligibility list. While preparing the list, the officer checks the documentary evidence in the form of inclusion in voter's list prior to 1995 and tax receipts, which would prove eligibility for rehabilitation.
Once the list is finalised, we publish the preliminary list and call for suggestions and objections and then only the final list is prepared. In case of any grievance, a high power committee is set up to look into the matter. Also, before the actual rehabilitation is undertaken, the consent of 70% of slum dwellers is necessary.
What is the budget for the various SRA schemes?
The SRA works on a model, which does not require any budget. The builders develop the land in return for incentive floor space index (FSI), which they can use in their other projects. At present, there are 165 developers who have expressed their intention to take up slum rehabilitation projects.