Study reveals 2,000 slums in Bengaluru, govt lists only 597

Monday, July 23, 2018
The Times of India

BENGALURU: Using satellite imagery and machine learning, a multi-agency study on the state of slums in Bengaluru has uncovered startling discrepancies in official ata: The city has over 2,000 slums, and the government recognizes only 597. 

Interestingly, only Gulbarga Colony in Jayanagar is common to the official lists of slums maintained by the Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the department of municipal administration. Conversely, Janata Colony in Chikkabellandur did not figure on any of three official lists, and 96% of the surveyed households in the slum claimed it had been notified. 

Conducted by by Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Omidyar Network over the past seven years, the study covered 135 slums and spoke to members of approximately 4,500 househholds to gain clarity about one of the most dynamic aspects of urban life in Indian cities. IIM-Bangalore was part of the study, and looked at ownership of assets, quality of property documents possessed and access to basic facilities. 

Satellite-image analysis helped identify slums along a ontinuum — from shanties supported only by poles and tarpaulin to three-storey concrete structures. The study observed that official lists contained slums that were towards the higher end of the spectrum. 

Anirudh Krishna, Edgar T Thompson professor of public policy and political science, said a government, even with the best intentions, was hard-pressed to keep track of changes, given the dynamic nature of slums and the use of outdated methods. 

“Government surveys become redundant rather soon, given the pace at which slums come up, with undefined boundaries. New  slums are forming, older ones are expanding and mutating(spreading both horizontally and vertically), slum names and slum boundaries keep changing,” Krishna, one of the authors of the paper titled ‘Studying the Real Slums of Bengaluru’, pointed out. 

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