Perpetual flow of people from villages to cities creates many socioeconomic problems. The density of population of cities rises and civic amenities fall short of needs. Law and order situation deteriorates. Prices of essential commodities rise. Housing situation become acute and rents soar. New entrants start living on pavements and thatched huts. That way slum come up, at times, adjacent to or right in the middle of posh colonies.
Migration of the poor to cities creates slums. Cultivable land in villages is limited. And it is not enough to support the landless labourers in the village. Instead of starving in villages, they along with their women folk move on to cities in search of employment. While men work as unskilled works, their women get work in households. Work found, they build jhuggies that later become a cluster of huts.
Landless labourers are also attracted to cities as there have many factories where mill hands are needed. Later, these factory workers call their relatives and friends from their villages. Thus cities start expanding haphazardly.
Spread of education in villages is also responsible for migration of rural people to urban areas. Once a person in a village crosses the matriculation level, the agricultural profession does not interest him. He is on the lookout for an office job and hence the migration.
City Life has its own charm. We have sprawling bungalows, multistory buildings, clubs, cinemas, theatres and other places of entertainment and employment. Villagers start enjoying city life. They send money to their parents and elders regularly. At times they get lost in the hustle and bustle of city life.
The slums in the capital and metro cities are getting larger and larger—with more migrants coming in. Basic amenities like electricity, potable water, toilets may be lacking in slums and there is no drainage. Heaps of garbage is found here and there. Hygienic conditions are not there-thus slum dweller fall easy prey to diseases like cholera, malaria, jaundice. During the rainy season, it is real hell for slum dwellers.
Government is conscious of the deplorable conditions in which slum dwellers live. Basic necessities have to be provided to more than one crore- slum dweller in different urban areas in the country. This scheme is part of the minimum needs programme. The National Council for Applied Economic Research has been given the task of assessing the impact of slums improvement on the lives of slum dwellers.
The main difficulty faced by government is that the slum dwellers that are provided alternative accommodation sell away these at fancy prices and are back to form new slums wherever possible.
The best way to deal with the problem of slums in cities would be to stop migration of landless labourer from rural to urban areas by providing employment avenues in villages. Different labour intensive industries can be started in villages. Small-scale industries, with loan facilities, can be established for educated rural youth. Better living facilities are provided so that city life no longer holds charm. The migration ceased, there will be no reason for slum to come up. □