Report No. 138
2.4. Position in Bombay.-
It appears that around 40 per cent. of Bombay's population has sought its own shelter in an unconventional manner.1 "There are the people who are considered to be illegal occupiers of land and shelter-the squatters."
Bombay started slum clearance and improvement as early as 1958. The Slum Areas Improvement etc. Act was enacted in Maharashtra in 1971, followed by the Maharashtra Slums Improvement Board Act, 1973. The Act of 1973 envisages slums as a cause of danger to health, safety and convenience of the slum dwellers themselves and also of the surrounding areas, and states that until such time as the slums are removed and the people re-housed, it is necessary to provide basic necessities, such as water, sanitary arrangements, and electricity to them. But, in practice, the fact is accepted today (in Bombay) that slums will continue to grow and, owing to resistance put forward by slum dwellers and the political support, clearance is not possible. Hence the emphasis has been upon improvement.
1. Paper on Urban Poverty in India: Policies and Programmes, by the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, published in National Commission on Urbanisation Report (August 1988), Vol. V, Part II, pp. 59-60.