Kerala's Administrative Reforms Commission, in its report, notes that the living conditions of slum dwellers and colony residents are in a pathetic state in the state. This is the 6th report submitted to the government by the commission headed by former Chief Minister and veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan.
Lack of land, improper housing, inadequate infrastructure, poor quality education, lack of sanitation services, and unsafe drinking water are problems they confront. A majority of the population are from the marginalised Dalit community,says the report
The report urged universities to conduct studies about the conditions of the slum population to enable appropriate policy making.
"Teachers and students can study the socio-economic problems in slums. Slums should be included in the National Service Scheme (NSS) of colleges and institutions,".
The report demanded government to formulate and implement schemes to improve livelihoods.
The report point outs that lack of reliable data is a hindrance for planning development initiatives. It demands state government to conduct a census of all recognised colonies and prepare a database including socio-economic before finalising project proposals for the coming year.
The report emphasises that "those from scheduled castes and other marginalised communities are mostly who are forced to live in terrible conditions.
The oppressive system of caste ensures vulnerability. Slums are the creation of the state and existing social order," says the Commission
"Colony dwellers should not be seen as tools for employment. Many consider slums as places of anti-social behaviour which ought to change. Residents should have access to better education,"
As per the report 2.02 lack people belonging to 45,417 families reside in slums across 19 districts many of whom own no land
Many slum dwellers face scarcity of basic needs. Poor quality construction and lack of maintenance make dwelling conditions worse. Government-built buildings are old and derelict and prone to accidents,the report says
Thrissur Municipal Corporation has the largest slum population with 79,801 residents followed by Kozhikode with 50,343 residents. The lowest population is recorded in Mavelikkara where only 763 reside in slums,according to the report
"Scarcity of hygienic drinking water is a perennial problem in slums",
"Majority of the dwellers collect water from public taps for their needs which is insufficient. Public institutions with jurisdiction over the matter often ignore the slums," the commission points out
"Most slums lack proper sanitation facilities which adversely affect residents' health and hygiene. The mortality rate in slums is high. The youth are victims of drugs and alcohol,"
The commission also urges Government intervention to prevent and control the use of drugs in slums. It also says to promote arts and sports clubs must be promoted within colonies. The abilities of children and youth in the colonies must be developed.
The Commission also recommended that the government should implement policies and legislation for the general development of slums.
(edited by Anan Ashraf)