Bengaluru has the dubious distinction of being a city with a very high slum density. We have had this tag for the last 12 years as over four million people live in semipermanent homes in the city.
Over the last five years, things have gone from bad to worse. It is time the government came up with a viable solution. What we need to do is make homes more affordable for people. But how can we do that when the land prices are soaring and nobody wants to make a bad investment?
The solution could be letting private builders own the buildings rather than selling them the land and then allowing them to lease or sell the houses at affordable EMIs or rates that would encourage the real buyers.
Now what the government is doing -the job of the realtor builder without addressing the issue of providing affordable houses. If we had controlled private players instead, we could make houses available for all.
The problem that Bengaluru is facing is not unique. Ahmedabad too has a similar problem, but we can learn from the way it is addressing it. If we are ready to learn and adapt, there are several lessons to take from Japan, Singapore and other countries as well. But to start with we must be willing to learn.