Slum redevelopment or rehabilitation is one of the long pending and much forgotten issues, even though successive BJP-led governments made several promises and budgetary provisions to ensure that the State’s slum areas are notified and redeveloped.
According to the State Census 2011, the slum population is concentrated in three census towns - Panaji, Mormugao and Margao - not a single slum area has been notified till date.
As per 2011 census, the highest slum population has been reported in Mormugao accounting for 90 per cent of the slum population of the State. If sources are to be believed, over a decade down the line, the State’s slum population has witnessed close to 75 per cent growth and it has spread over many other parts of the coastal State. Just to name a few, slums in the State are very visible in settlements such as Moti Dongor, Zuarinagar, Chimbel, Camrabhat, and Mapusa.
Since 1985, when the first plan was mooted to rehabilitate the slum areas of Monte Hill, there seems to be lack of clarity and confusion over the “authority” for undertaking the rehabilitation project. The Goa Rehabilitation Board (GRB) - the body formed for this purpose, lacks or has got no power to deal with slum rehabilitation.
Highly placed sources informed, “State has not put in place Slum Development Committee or State Slum Redevelopment Authority, as mandated under the Goa Rehabilitation Act. It is a dedicated authority to deal with slum identification, notification and plans for either redevelopment or rehabilitation”.
During a recent meeting with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, the government entrusted the task to Goa State Urban Development Agency (GSUDA), who, too, raised their hands in the matter, informing the government that unless “slums are notified”, no rehabilitation can be undertaken.
GSUDA member secretary Gurudas Pilarnekar said merely fund allocation in the budget is not going to help in slum rehabilitation as that is a secondary part.
“We need to first identify and notify the slum areas. As per census, we have slum population in Panaji, Margao and Vasco area but we have to identify areas within these towns and notify them. The slum population can now also be found in Mapusa and Ponda areas,” he explained.
Pilarnekar said that the government will have to identify and notify the areas or wait till next population census data to be out to get the exact situation.
Sawant in the State Budget 2023-24 has announced that the government is committed for rehabilitation of notified slum dwellers in urban areas of Margao, Mormugao and Panaji for which a special provision of Rs 5 crores has been made.
In the 2017 Budget too, then CM Manohar Parrikar had made a Rs 50 crore provision to rehabilitate all the inhabitants of Zuarinagar, Chimbel and Camrabhat.