Interiview with Paramjit Singh Bhogal, Director World Bank Project-MHADA
Director: Ralli Jacob, Rafeeq Ellias, P.K. Das; Cinematographer: Rafeeq Ellias
Duration: 00:22:18; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 46.177; Saturation: 0.213; Lightness: 0.254; Volume: 0.106; Cuts per Minute: 1.255; Words per Minute: 89.902
Paramjit Singh Bhogal was the Director of the World bank funded Bombay urban Development Project implemented during the period 1985-1995 by MHADA. The project included programmes like the Site and Services Scheme and the Slum Up-gradation Programme.
PSB: No actually the World Bank insists that as soon as we allot the house sites, the recovery must start from that day onwards. So what our deputy directors do is that they start giving recovery notices for the repayment of the loan to the people at the original addresses from where they have filled the forms. And sometimes people move from one address to another.
Paramjit Singh Bhogal interview.
PSB: ...which is... And people are paying. As soon as they have joined a society and the construction is going on - the repayment is very nominal, because the loan is spread out for 20 years. The installments are very small. So the repayment being fairly nominal, there is no great hardship, the people are interested in paying.
PSB: And, only why we are not getting 100% recovery, is that about 10% of the people, their addresses keep changing. So they intimate to us and then that record is corrected in the office. But the procedure of allotment and the method of recovery is simultaneous. People start getting allotted the sites, and the loans start getting recovered from them.
PSB: In the time of the initial advertisement, for example our advertisement of '87 or '89, ...
Q: ...has any thought been given to that?
PSB: The requirement exists, as you have stated, but the World Bank Project is one of the - is not the only one dealing with housing sites. There is a Repairs and Reconstruction Board. Then the Bombay Board also is having tenements. And people who are affected by the roads development and all, they are taken up by the Bombay Board.
PSB: What we are dealing with primarily is people who have requirement of their own house site, who have got small jobs but who are not having any chance in their lifetime of ever buying a plot on their own - because the market price is such that unless you subsidise the housing sites for the lower income groups, it is not going to be possible for them in this lifetime to ever afford a plot of their own.
PSB: So we are going for the core - the majority people who are having jobs, who are having a regular income, and who are having school going children and who are having parents probably to support, but who are having no place. And they are having some savings also, but they are having no site on which to build.
PSB: So this is the novel idea about it - that we are giving them sites, and then they build according to the design. Of course we provide a (type) design, but they can make modifications in it within certain parameters. We permit a height of - ground floor tenement for low income group - we permit a height of 14 feet. 14 feet what happens is that they build a loft. And with a loft - it is something like a mezzanine floor - though officially the Bombay Municipal Corporation does not allow a mezzanine floor - our lofts are used like a children's bedroom, or for old people's... where there may not be children but there may be elderly parents, or for one spare room, is made in the loft. Behind... over the kitchen and bathroom area.
PSB: So you will see at Charkop, a number of these aeas very nicely used.
PSB: As regards your question about slumlords gathering and capturing societies, we call the people first, get the society registered. In fact we introduce people to each other. We don't get groups coming to us and getting allotments. We have individuals applying to us, and then we introduce them in our Samaj Mandir. We have Samaj Melas where we call the people, we call them in groups, and we introduce them to each other and then we build them up into groups.
PSB: So the chances of somebody getting a complete group readymade is... not possible in the World Bank Project.
Q: What is the amount...?
PSB: We have... the total project cost of the World Bank is 282 crores. And MHADA has so far developed lands which will produce nearly 3,500 sites. The largest site of ours at Charkop, Gorai is of 215 hectares, and this will accomodate 1.5 lakh population. Most of our plots have been allotted there and about 8,000 families are now living there. And... they are... Yes?
Q: So would you say this is like a...
PSB: Its... and one of the parts is... affordability I have already stated. We do not wish that it should be more than 20% of his income, his or her income should be utilised towards repayment of the loan. And full cost recovery we are doing. But this should also be replicable. So our scheme is replicable in any number of places, given the same requirement.
Q: Are you making an effort towards that?
PSB: Here in Bombay, one of the main problems is land.... vacant land. We require large chunks of land. At present the World Bank sites are located on the outer periphery of the island, where they're allotted to us - we've been doing some landfill also.
PSB: Recently the government of India have published their coastal regulations which have prohibited any building activity or (?) activity of any kind within 500 metres of the seashore, and some of our sites are hit by that. So we'll have to make a special case for Bombay. Because for Bombay there is no other place. And it is no use giving these people a place in Wada or in Pen. Of course for the middle income group people would love to have holiday houses and cottages and they might be able to afford them. But for the daily wage earners, or people who are having their jobs in the island city, it is a prime requirement to be allowed to stay where they're jobs are located.
Q: ... this concept of yours...
PSB: There is no real competition as such because we are dealing with that segment of the population - our majority is lower income groups. And the lower income groups never go to the builder. It is...
PSB: And we get land at subsidised prices from the State government. But the builder has to buy his land at market price... or whatever he gets it from. We are able to provide housing facilities at... below cost because our land is given to us at subsidised rates by the state government.
PSB: ...existence since 1983... We have not been able to utilise 100% because of lack of land in which to take up the...
PSB: The World Bank doesn't give money in one shot and forget about it. They have a team which comes here every quarter and they discuss with us. And one interesting thing is that their team manager, he brings a laptop computer and whatever we discuss everyday - we showed them the sites, we showed them the works - and before he leaves, his aid memoir is presented to us. Unlike our conferences where it takes probably a week's timeline is there before we finish all the proceedings and we put it up to the...
Q: So do you expect...
PSB: where more money, it is available. But the problem is we are not able to utilise whatever has been given to us at present.
Q: But where is the land we know that...
PSB: Availability of land is one of the main factors
Q: Availability not the land is existing but it is not being provided?
PSB: No, we need a large chunks to make up a township, we don't need scattered plots.
Q: Is the government not able to find the land or is there a shortage of land?
PSB: There is shortage of land - being an island city for Bombay this is a peculiar question that land is in short supply. The other part is that the facilities must be adequate. The world bank people who come where and discuss with us they said it is of no use converting a horizontal slum into a vertical slum with no facilities. You'll have a 5, 6 storeyed, cramped apartment building and no sanitation or adequate water facilities. It itself is a vertical slum. So the idea is is to have a layout which will be clean, aesthetic and environmental cosiderations are also taken in to account.
PSB: We are getting consultants who - after all building plans and design plans are made - who also make the area integrated from the environmental point of view. it is not just architect's blueprint which is imposed, but the architect's blueprint is integrated into the social fabric, the environmental backdrop and the building regulations.
PSB: ...Jobs are available. People will flock to areas where jobs are available and Bombay more or less jobs are available and there is a demand. Now as I said land is in short supply. When I see land on the eastern express highway there are salt pan lands belonging to the central government - the state government is in touch with them. And in the foreseeable future areas on both sides of Vikhroli along the Eastern Express highway, there are large chunks of open land which could be developed for similar townships like Charkop.
And there is no reason why this will not be made available because the parameters of Bombay are that Bombay has very good communication transport. The train services are regular and spread out. And it is very easy for the people to go from their township to the railway station.
PSB: No contradiction between the 2 because the beneficiaries are different. We are taking the poorest of the poor and trying to give them at least the site on which they can build. Whereas the middle class - those with the husband and wife both working - and in middle class or public sector jobs where there are 2 incomes added they can go to a builder, pay an advance and make a comfortable, modern apartment spread out over a couples of years.
Q: My question was...
PSB: Builders... We are not in competition with them.
Q: No my question was different you may not be in competition... of its policy...
PSB: No it is not. Public housing is a requirement. Question of winding up doesn't arise. World bank project is one of the ways by which we are financing the housing development. The availability of land like in our own project about 60% is going to the lower income groups and 40% we are giving to the higher income groups and that money we are using as a cross subsidy to help the... to ease the servicing of the sites which we are giving to the lower income groups.
PSB: Similarly it cannot be conceivable that any state authority would whole sale allot plots to the builders. So the builders would get according to their requirement and we would get according to our requirement so as a whole of society is covered. People who can go to the builders, they can afford slightly bigger and better accommodation than what our people are getting. But what we are providing is the minimum. Bombay now the monsoon has started. Bombay is a heavy rain fall area and when you say shelter you mean real shelter.
PSB: ...regulations the building control rules but have been promulgated by the municipal corporation. The FSI has now been increased to 2.5 and those people who have got their clusters they can in due course have savings and go in for a... upper storey structures there is no bar to it.
Q: But without (?)
PSB: No they have got land in out of the way areas and paid for it with their meagre salaries. If they are able to save and their children are also working and they go from the lower income group to the middle class - we are one of... the patterns of our socialistic patterns of society is being solved that the lowest class becomes the middle class. And the rules and the facilities of the public bodies are helping that the people as a whole are arising.
Community Anganwadi, Sangharsh Nagar kids are singing socail song:
Community Anganwadi, Sangharsh Nagar kids are singing socail song:
Community Anganwadi, Sangharsh Nagar kids are singing social song: Mandir Masjit, GIrjha Ghar ne Baat liya Bhagwan ko, Dharti baati, Sagar Baata, Mat baton Insan ko...
Anganwadi teachers are taking class.