Residents of Indira Nagar Gharkul relocate to their transition camp

On 17th January 2013 residents (312 families) of the slum known as ‘Indira Nagar Gharkul’ in Miraj dismantled their homes and relocated to their transition site to allow the land to be redeveloped under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP).  Once construction is complete the capacity of this site will more than double as Shelter Associates proposed site layout, which has been sanctioned by the Government of India and approved by the local governments town planning department, shows that 651 residential units can be accommodated here in 21 four storey buildings.

The residential units will provide the beneficiaries with a kitchen, bedroom, hall, bathroom, and individual toilet and will be accommodated in medium rise buildings to eliminate the requirement for lifts which frequently break down and require maintenance.  The houses will also be integrated into the municipal water, drainage and electricity networks and will be leases to a cooperative society on a 99 year lease basis.

In addition to improving the quality of life and providing security of tenure to the resident of Indira Nagar Gharkul the extra housing stock will be used to accommodate people in the vicinity of Indira Nagar Gharkul who live in slums on land with is undevelopable (land with development plan reservations, land which floods, or land affected by road-widening projects).

The strategy at this site is in keeping with Shelter Associates city-wide vision for the IHSDP in Sangli & Miraj, which impressed the Government of India in 2009 and lead to changes in the most recent national slum rehabilitation policy ‘Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY)’.  The strategy is to develop land which can be used for slum rehabilitation purposes, to a higher density to provide new housing (with security of tenure) not only for the slum communities which occupy those site but also to other slum communities in the vicinity who are in a much more vulnerable situation and are at risk of eviction to the outskirts of the city which pushes them deeper into poverty.

FILM: Inclusive Planning for the Urban Poor

This is a short film made by Shelter Associates about a city-wide approach to slum rehabilitation.  The film focuses on a project that is currently in progress in Sangli & Miraj (Maharashtra, India) under the Government of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Shelter Associates are an NGO who designed the project and adopted an approach to engage with all stakeholders at every stage of the project.  The film advocates that an inclusive approach, informed by a city-wide/holistic consciousness, and driven by an institutionalized monitoring system, is necessary to ensure tangible, long-lasting change, which results in the elevation of the quality of life of the urban poor.


Shelter Associates Community Worker Presents at Sumpurna Slum Seminar

On the17th and 18th December 2012 Shelter Associates attended the Sumpurna Slum Seminar in Balgandhrav (a theatre in Shivaji Nagar, Pune) and Yashada (a government training institution in Pune).  Shelter Associates short film ‘Shelter Associates: Inclusive Planning for the Urban Poor’ was played at the event and was followed by a speech by one of Shelter Associates community workers, Mrs. Noorjahan Kaladagi.  This community worker has been associated with Shelter Associates since 2001 and presented to the United Nations Women in Delhi last year (December 2011).  During her speech Mrs. Noorjahan Kaladagi spoke about her experience of working with the government to implement projects in slums in her peri-urban area and highlighted the importance of monitoring (such as regular progress meetings) being an integral part of the implementation process.

The Community Designs it’s own Community Centre

During October 2012 Shelter Associates and a community (who are currently living in a temporary transition camp while their new homes are being built under the IHSDP) engaged in a design process to prepare a scheme for the community centre that will be built as part of the slum rehabilitation process.  To read more about this process view the attached flyer: Inclusive Design: Sanjay Nagar Community Centre.

Shelter Associates attends the Sanitation Hackathon

From 30th November to the 2nd December 2012 Shelter Associates attended (and part sponsored) the World Bank’s Sanitation Hackathon.  This was a global event involving multiple cities across the globe where software engineers gathered together for an intense exercise to create applications for mobile technology which can help to address the issue of sanitation.

For more information about the event please visit the official web site at

As part of the Sanitation Hackathon, Shelter Associates wrote a problem statement (design brief) which suggested that the software engineers produce a mobile application which would allow data collected within the slums to be directly uploaded to the Shelter Associates On-line Survey System.  While all of the software engineers who attended the hackathon in Pune chose to work on other problem statements many of them expressed interest in working with Shelter Assoicates on our problem statement after the event.

56 columns or 40 columns?

The contractor who has been engaged to carryout construction on two sites (Sanjay Nagar Miraj, and Phase 1 of Indira Nagar Gharkul) as part of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP) in Sangli & Miraj has decided to revert back to Shelter Associates original design.  Even though Shelter Associates had prepared a complete set of detailed structural drawings, the contractor had commissioned another design team to prepare structural drawings for these contracts.

Shelter Associates observed that the contractors design team had altered the structural design and highlighted this to the Sangli, Miraj & Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKMC) and the contractor; which prompted the contractor to conduct a cost comparison.

The contractor found that the Shelter Associates design is much more cost effective, provides more flexible residnetial units, provides a more efficient parking area, and is quicker to construct.  This is all because the Shelter Associates design requires fewer columns, meaning fewer foundations, less excavation work, less concrete, less steel, and less labor; Shelter Associates design requires 40 columns per building (approximately 7 columns per residential unit) as opposed to the 56 columns (9 columns per residential unit) which were proposed by the contractors design team.  The Shelter Associates design also provides a more flexible plan for the beneficiaries as it does not require the contractor to form a column in the middle of the residential unit.

Unfortunatly, the contractor had already started 10 of the 14 buildings at Sanjay Nagar Miraj before conducting the cost comparison.  This means that 10 of the 14 buildings  are being built using the less cost effective design which takes longer to construct.

Municipal Commissioner Visits Sanjay Nagar Miraj.

On 28th May 2012 the Municipal Commissioner of the Sangli, Miraj and Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKMC) visited the Sanjay Nagar construction site in Miraj.  During this site visit issues associated with the site were discussed. Several beneficiaries who were present on this visit, requested the commissioner to stick to the original DPR that has sanctioned an accessible terrace which they require for several activities like drying clothes, pickle and papad making, social functions, compost bio degradable waste etc.

At the behest of the SMKMC, the contractor’s design team modified the Shelter Associate’s  design of providing an accessible terrace as per the approved DPR (sanctioned by the Government of India) and switched to an inaccessible sloping slab instead.

Shelter Associates have been providing detailed cost comparison to the Sangli, Miraj, & Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKMC) since April 2011 informing them of the reasons why the beneficiaries require an accessible terrace; proving that an accessible terrace is actually cheaper than a sloping slab; and requesting them to instruct the contractor to revert back to the approved design. In the review meeting on site, the beneficiaries reiterated that they  wanted a terrace and not a sloping slab. Shelter Associates also brought it to the notice of the SMKMC that the GOI had sanctioned Rs. 15,000 per family as a full subsidy for common infrastructure like staircase, verandahs and parapet walls which was not part of the costing for the tenement.

13 years after completion

In May 2012 representatives of Shelter Associates visited Rajendra Nagar, a slum rehabilitation housing project in Dattawadi (Pune, Maharashtra, India) which was completed 13 years ago in September 1998.

Prior to moving into this residential building all of the families lived within Rajendra Nagar slum.  The informal settlement was made up of single storey, structures made of impermanent materials.  Due to the proximity of the slum to the Ambilodha canal the settlement was prone to flooding which damaged the houses and the residents’ possessions.

Shelter Associates (and another NGO) were the Architects of the rehabilitation project and worked with the community of the Rajendra Nagar slum to provide them with new houses, essential services, sanitation, and freedom from the threat of eviction on a site less than 2km from their slum.  It was important to Shelter Associates that the community did not move so that they

The visit was conducted to enable Shelter Associates to talk with the residents about how living within this two-storey residential building had impacted the quality of their lives in relation to health, hygiene, safety, employment, education and matrimonial options.


The community takes more responsibility for the cleanliness of their environment now, this ensures that the public areas of the place are kept clean and there are no termites.


The community has divided the 12 toilets between the resident 50 families; each toilet has been locked and the keys have been distributed to the families.  This means that within the community there are 12 sets of families, each of which uses 1 toilet.  This strategy was devised and adopted by the community to ensure that toilets remain clean and well maintained.


All children, regardless of caste or religion, play in the central courtyard, which is a safe place for the children to play as it is constantly under supervision; its position at the centre of the plan ensures that it is over-looked by many  residential units, both sets of stairs, and all communal toilets.  This central play space has also helped to encourage a feeling of community spirit as no children are marginalized.


The children of the community are now all receiving education even the poorest children among the lowest castes.


The employment situation has improved as more members of the Rajendra Nagar community are now employed.  They are all employed in the services sector as there are no ‘professional’ earners within the community; however, this characteristic is likely to change once the youth of the community, who are receiving better education opportunities than their seniors, find employment.


Marital options have improved for all families within Rajendra Nagar; this is because the average earnings have increased, all homes are clean and well kept, and all families have access to a clean working toilet.

It can be concluded from this visit that the rehabilitation scheme has had a positive impact on the quality of life of the Rajendra Nagar Community as all residents reported that, compared to the slum where they used to reside, their new homes are healthier, more hygienic, safer, and as a result, education, employment, and marriage options have all increased.  The community of Rajendra Nagar no longer lives in a slum; they live in an apartment complex with their own house number and address.