Webinar #1, MAKING SLUMS LIVABLE, forming the prelude to the online 2nd International Conference, SURF-2020, went online on with a rousing and an overwhelming response from not just the student and faculty community, but also, many eminent personalities from across the globe. The registrations had crossed 1000 by midday, needing activation of login through Facebook Live as well. The success of the event could be gauged by the fact there were 772 unique logins for the inaugural episode itself.
The participants of the webinar included;
The eminent panelists included;
The webinar commenced with an address by Mr Syed Mohamed Beary and his impressions on the relevance of the subject matter being discussed. He recounted his personal experience and his life’s journey when the means were limited and he had to make do with life in choultry at Mumbai. He observed that this discussion should help us ways and means to bring dignity into the life of the disadvantaged.
Ar Ashok B Lall, from his many years of experience of dealing with urban issues, observed that high rise structures designed as boxes do not constitute healthy living. Apart from high maintenance cost, he found that high risers also deny that common community space which helps promote social interactions.
Ms Anita Reddy explained her lifelong battle of standing by the disadvantaged and her efforts in economic empowerment using skill up-gradation, creation of co-operative movements for making the disadvantaged becoming self-reliant, and imparting that much-needed confidence to fend for themselves. She explained the challenges she faced and continues to face as she labours with various initiatives.
Dr Kishore Jain explained the efforts made by the realtors and the challenges that they have due to policy bottlenecks and the absence of support from the establishment. He assured that he would use his tenure to get benefits for the “Informal Settlements” and help improve the situation.
Ms Jaya Dindhaw presented the work of DRI as more of a research body to help generate data for the executive to act upon. She detailed out some of the initiatives that had yielded positive results across the globe. She also gave clear definitions and the characteristics of what we refer to as a slum.
Akbar Allahbaksh explained the need for social empowerment along with the up-gradation of physical infrastructure for better outcomes.
As the concluding remarks, Mr Syed Beary suggested that it is incumbent on the promoters to provide a minimum of 10% of units for the migrant workers in any planned development, with land and tax sops being thrown in by the Government. He observed that IGBC would try to further this cause and appealed to Mr Kishore Jain to help generate the necessary momentum in this direction through the CREDAI.
Dr Hariharan Chandrashekar had to extend the session by another 30 mins on popular demand and was hopeful the seed sowed here should germinate and make its presence felt with the help of all stakeholders, including the participants.
Due to the paucity of time, the Q&A session was deferred for a response from the panelists over emails, which would be uploaded onto the conference website on receipt from the Panelists.
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