SLUM DWELLERS AND HOUSING RIGHT MOVEMENTS : BHUBANESWAR DECLARATION

07 May 2018
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BASTI SURAKSHYA MANCH (BSM), Bhubaneswar held its 2nd Organisational Conference on 4th& 5th December 2015 at Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Along with this, an All India Convention on Slum Dwellers and Houseless People’s issues held successfully on 5th December. Slum Dwellers and Housing Rights Movement activists from Odisha, Karnataka, WB, Chhatisgarh, Seemandhra-Telengana, etc participated. Many all India leaders working among workers, peasants and intellectuals participated in these conventions. This All india Convention decided to coordinate Slum Dwellers Movements and Housing Rights Movements all over India and form an All India Coordination of Slum Dwellers and Housing Rights Movements (in short, All India Slum Movement) and this convention adopted a declaration named “Bhubaneswar Declaration”. This Declaration updated in 3rd All Inida Coordination Meeting held at Bangalore on 6-7 August 2016.

It declares that the slum dwellers and houseless people’s question not only include housing question but also the right to livelihood and to live with diginity along with all civic amenities including safe drinking water, electricity, sanitation, sewerage, dranage, community open space, park, play ground, etc.

Right to shelter is a basic human right and thus the Convention feels very appropriate to ask the Government to recogonise / framing an appropriate law to recogonise the right to shelter for all including the urban poor, Low Income Groups (LIG), Economicallly Weaker Sections (EWS) , workers engaged in private / Govt. Sectors , No Income Groups (NIGs), Homeless People and distressed destitute families at a convenient place and close to the employment / livelihood places.

The Declaration demands to reserve at least 40% land for weaker sections of the society at all urban centres. It declares that the Govt. of India as well as all State Govts. shall adopt a comprehensive policy prohibiting all forcible displacements/ evictions either in rural areas or in urban areas while implementing projects. The 2nd Conference of Basti Surakshya Manch asked the State Govt. to withdraw the Land Grabbing Act 2015 which was undemocratically passed in the November 2015 Session of Odisha State Assembly and which is anti people and draconian.

THE CONVENTION DEMANDS:

The evicted families in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and other parts of Odisha and other cities of the country shall be properly rehabilitated with in a time frame. Regularise and recogonise all the existing Bastis (slums) as legal habitat and give them all political and civil rights including all civic amenities. Pass a comprehensive law taking housing and livelihood as a fundamental right of every citizen and central and state Govt. are duty bound to give civilised shelters to each citizens. Recognition of the inherent dignity and right to life includes right to livelihood and shelter of all which is the foundation of justice and peace. Disregard and contempt for housing rights of slum dwellers , pavement dwellers, homeless persons, street vendors, people belonging to no income groups, economically weaker sections, destitutes, etc in urban areas resulted in increasing miseries, poverty and unemployment, whereas it is essential for every family to live with dignity, food, clothing and shelter, safe drinking water, healthcare, education, sanitations, electricity, etc.

Therefore this All India Convention on Housing Rights in relation to place of their work declares:-

The housing right irrespective of slum dwellers, pavement dwellers, homeless persons, low income groups, economically weaker sections, transgenders, destitutes, etc shall be ensured in all the urban areas of the country. The housing policy of the Union Govt. as well as all the State and Union Territories envisage housing close to their place of work or close to the place where livelihood oppurtunities are available. The policy of upgradation / In-situ / tenable developments of informal settlements (slums) shall be a general urban policy and displacements shall be exception and also with the effective consultations and consent of the affected families.

The Convention resolves and urges upon the Union Government and state as well as Union Territory Governments. :

To prohibit with a legislation of all forcible evictions/ demolitions of houses belonging to above said groups in urban and rural areas. To stop indiscriminate destructions of Ecology and Environment in the name of so called development projects. To stop repressions on any mass movements including the movements against forcible evictions/ demolitions of slums and bastis and withdraw all the criminal and falsely fabricated cases on the protestors, villagers, slum dwellers, participants of democratic mass movements, etc. To prohibit the evictions of small street vendors. To repeal the clause “The family shall be eligible for ‘housing’ who does not possess any house in any part of the country” in the definition of “eligibility” in the Housing for All policy of both Union & State Govts. To repeal the Odisha Prevention of Land Grabbing Act-2015. To desist from further move to dilute the present land acquisition law. Legalise all the slums, pavements, bastis, small street traders and provide them all basic facilities including safe drinking water, sanitations, electricity, healthcare, education etc. To enact an urban land ceiling law. All workers whether they are migrants or not, should be provided with full housing and other amenities of life by their employers irrespective of whether they are actual owners or contractors. To enact a law regulating house rents. Affordable house or on rent basis shall be provided to all by the Govt. and through their agencies. Earmark 40% land for housing for poor and socially weaker sections of the people in urban master plan. Whereas the so called development under the cover of economic reforms leads to plundering of natural resources such as land, forest, water , mines, etc. it increases the intensity of poverty and unemployment in the rural as well as urban areas. In an equity based urban development policy with special reference to the housing, sanitation, electricity, healthcare, education, safe drinking water facilities for the common people, the policy thrust for smart city or any such policy is not acceptable in the present conditions. We oppose the policy of quid pro quo adopted by the Centre and the State Govts. in providing basic services such as sanitations, safe drinking water, roads, sewerage, dranage, community grounds, etc and condemn imposition of User Fees in all the services provided for the common people. We oppose the present form of Targeted Public Distribution System and demands that all the people of the country are entitled for essential commodities including food grains with a reasonable price through a fair public distribution system.

We demand that all the above should be made available as a matter of right and not as a relief granted by any Govt. belonging to any political party.

We further request all pro-people and democratic forces to come forward to form a broad mass based platform for campaign for assertion of the housing rights of the people and to organise united protest resistances against any violation of the rights of the people.

The Convention also decided to translate this Bhubaneswar Declaration into all Indian languages and to be circulated among all the organisations, activists those are working among slum dwellers, struggling for housing rights and for livelihood with dignity. State wide discussions will be organised contacting all the organisations and activists working in various states. Further steps will be taken to coordinate all similar organisational efforts at the all India level.

Sivaram, Co-ordinator, AISM,

Mobile: 09668844555,

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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