Of shelter and sanitation
Close on the heels of the gover nment identifying 305 cities and towns across nine states to build houses for the poor in urban areas this week, industry experts deliberated on ways and means to provide affordable shelter and sanitation and called for Housing for All by 2022 and Open Defecation Free India by 2019.
Under the Housing for All by 2022 scheme, the government has set the target to provide houses to about two crore f amilies belonging to the economically weaker section in urban areas by that year.
At the inauguration of the 5th Asia-Pacific Housing Forum this week, Bollywood actor, Vivek Oberoi pledged his support in building one lakh sanitation units in India by 2016.
“Even today, both rural and urban areas in India do not have enough sanitation facilities. Consistent efforts have been put in by social players to improve sanitation, yet the need is still largely unmet,” Oberoi said, adding “access to sanitation should be seen as a basic human right and treated as a benchmark of societal progress.”
Oberoi was recently made ambassador for Habitat for Humanity’s campaign titled Sensitize to Sanitize. Habitat for Humanity is an NGO that facilitates shelter and sanitation in India.
“The Housing Forum aims to stir the debate on regional poverty housing and sanitation in India,” says Rajan Samuel, managing director, Habitat for Humanity India.“Through this forum, we are reaching out to policymakers and regulators who can bring about changes in public policies that are linked to poverty housing and sanitation,” he says.
The biennial Asia- Pacific Housing Forum was also held simultaneously i n Manila, Philippines and Hong Kong.
Kulwant Singh, advisor, Urban Basic Services ( Asia) (UN-HABITAT) said, “Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, two crore houses will be built for the poor in urban areas by 2022. UN-Habitat has extended its full support to this campaign.”