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KMC to convert 9 slums into 'model bustees'

Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will convert nine slums in the city into 'model slums', to ensure that people in these areas get basic civic amenities. The civic body has set a time frame of two years for the project, which will be undertaken through funds from the state Municipal Affairs department.
"The concept of model slums is the first in the country and Kolkata will be the torch-bearer in this matter," said Swapan Sammadar, Member, Mayor-in-Council (Bustee Development).
The first bustee that will be developed as a model slum, will be Hatgachia bustee situated in the Dhapa area. 80 percent of development work in the bustee has already been completed.
"Our basic aim is improvement in the socio-economic condition of these slums. The purpose of the concept of model bustee is to ensure basic civic amenities like drinking water, drainage system and toilet at every house and lighting facilities. However, we will create additional infrastructure, wherever there is availability of space," Samaddar said.
If there is a waterbody in the slum, then the civic body will also take the responsibility of renovating the same.
It may be mentioned that Hatgachia bustee will also have a children's park, community hall, primary school, health centre and playground. "Work for the roads is going on now and we hope that it will take another three to four months," he added.
According to sources in KMC, the other slums that will be developed as model slums, are Dharbagan in Rajabazar, Miyabagan in Beleghata, Cocola in Parnasree, Behala and Panchanantala in Dhakuria.
A bustee under ward 93 in the Lake Gardens area, ward 77 in Kidderpore area and another at ward 13, have been earmarked for transformation into model bustees. Work for developing Dharbagan and Cocola slums have already begun.
It may be mentioned that KMC has recently developed a slum at Khanaberia, located at the farthest corner of Dhapa. "There was an earthen road and people used to drink pond water. There were neither lights nor toilets in majority of the houses. We have rejuvenated it completely. Now there is drinking water, LED lights and toilet in every single slum house," the official said.
According to Samaddar, development of a model bustee cannot be achieved overnight, as it needs extensive awareness among the dwellers regarding cleanliness, fire security, etc. among many other things. "The change in mindset of the dwellers is of utmost importance," he said.
According to KMC sources, there is a total of 4,000 slums in the city.

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