[Workshop] CSH-CPR urban workshop, Improvement, Redevelopment and Resettlement: Governance of Poverty Alleviation Policies in Contemporary Kolkata by Sarani Khatua

Event Details

The last three decades have been significant to urban India. Concern for urban governance involving a number of actors: state and non-state, and addressing different challenges with respect to environment, services and infrastructure, climate etc. dominates India’s urban planning today. Poverty alleviation is one such facet that finds place in most development policies and at the same time has given rise to much debate and controversy.

This presentation will consider components of two recent multidimensional initiatives addressing improvement, resettlement and redevelopment of slums and squatter settlements in Kolkata. They are Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) under the centrally funded Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Slum Improvement and Resettlement of canal bank dwellers under the Asian Development Bank funded Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project (KEIP, initially CEIP). While slum improvement was aimed to create model slums in some parts of the city through their physical and social improvement, resettlement was provided through provision of housing to the involuntarily displaced canal bank dwellers as per the Resettlement Plan prepared for KEIP. Through BSUP, redevelopment targeted replacement of slums and squatter settlements by multi-storied housing along with provision of basic amenities. These three components implemented almost simultaneously at different locations in the city evoked mixed results. Improvement of slums has been met with peaceful implementation; whereas resettlement and redevelopment have induced protests from the targeted population.

Specific cases of Nonadanga, a resettlement site and Kumartuli, an artisans’ settlement, which were selected for the projects in the last decade, will be explored. Finally, the presentation will attempt to bring forward larger issues of governance of poverty alleviation in the city and its peripheries in contemporary times.

Sarani Khatua has recently received her PhD in geography from the University of Calcutta, for her dissertation on urban governance and poverty alleviation policies in contemporary Kolkata. She was an ICSSR Doctoral student at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC). Previously, she has worked at a Kolkata-based NGO where she was engaged in a field based project dealing with policies relevant to poor rural women in areas surrounding the city. She is interested in contemporary urban issues of low income settlements and their relevant policies, politics and processes. She can be reached at saranikhatua@gmail.com

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