The Uncovered Reality: Disparity in slums in Bangalore

The Uncovered Reality: Disparity in slums in Bangalore

Capstone Environment Health

Slum dwellers residing in non-notified slums still struggle to get the sanitation facility, KSDB fails to provide resources due to lack of funds.

Bangalore: As per the survey done by the Karnataka Slum Development Board, there are around 2804 slums in Karnataka. Out of which there are 597 slums in Bangalore. And only 387 are notified, rest 210 are non-notified slums.

Data according to Karnataka Slum Development Board. Credits: Author

The population in non-notified slum area is comparatively less than a notified one. According to a circular by Census India, a compact area of at least 300 population or 60-70 households of poor built congested tenements in unhygienic environment should be identified and according to their respective states, they can be considered as “Notified slum”.

Chhinnapaiya, a slum dweller residing beside the Vrishabhawathi River said, “Once the water from the river came till out tent and all our ration cards and other important documents got washed away. Everything flew away in the water, so what do you take, whether the utensil or the important documents.” He further added that there no proper sanitation facility. There is open space for defecation. Either we use flat space or we have to go to the streets. Government has done nothing, they said they will provide us shelter but they did nothing.”

Residents of Nagavarapalya slum said all the schemes introduced by the government are implemented for the notified slums and non-notified slums are deprived of all the resources. The non-notified slums are worse off as compared to notified in terms of drinking water, electricity, sanitation, education, infrastructure and other facilities.

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information reports that 59 per cent of urban slums in India lack any recognition from the government and are considered as non-notified. In Karnataka, around 4.5-million people live in slum area. That is around 22.56 per cent of the state’s population.

Overall slum blocks in India, Data according to the CENSUS India 2011. Credits: Author

A slum activist working Foundation for Educational innovations in Asia (FEDINA), Sebastian Devaraj said, “The slum dwellers who are taking care of keeping the city clean, they themselves don’t have sanitation. The children and the family suffers due to it and no proper sanitation also contributes in letting their social interaction come down.”

Kavitha Anjanaiya, a resident of Old slum apartment in Kengeri Satellite town mentioned that even though they have toilet facility, the hygiene and water supply is poor. “Water is the main issue in the area. We have even tried complaining but there has been no response. The water is unclean and unhygienic to use. Even the garbage isn’t collected and it is lying all over the place.”

Pushpanjali Doraiswamy, a member of the Smile Foundation, a non-profit organization said, “Migrant workers who have come here from different states to work here are mostly living in these huts. The rag pickers community living in these slums are impacted the most due to lack of recognition as notified slums. So when you go there you will see they’re finding it difficult to survive since there are no toilets and bathroom. Some NGOs help them with providing the Aadhaar card while others provide them money. Some NGOs want to construct bathroom and toilets in their residents and some want to build public toilets for the entire community. In Urban slum areas, they have been provided with the facilities but they are not utilizing in proper way. One of the biggest reasons is lack of awareness.”

A report by Health Issue India claims 2.5 billion people, globally, do not have to sanitation facilities and among them, 1 billion people defecate in open areas.

Technical Director of Bangalore district from Karnataka Slum Development Board, N P Balaraju, “The lack of funds remain one of the biggest reasons why we can’t look after the hygiene and sanitation in other non-notified slum areas. And yes, there is a difference between notified and non-notified according to the Karnataka Slum Areas (Development) Act 1973. And the government decides which slum needs to be identified.”

As per the Child fund organization, in 2011, approximately 615 million people lacked access to adequate sanitation systems in their communities and were forced to defecate openly. 

On December 28th, 2019 although the BBMP declared Bangalore as open defecation free, the disparity between the slum areas in Bangalore uncover another reality.


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