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Resettlement as development? Understanding the impacts of resttlement and rehabilitation in the Mumbai urban transport project (MUTP), India Takeuchi, Ko

Abstract

Displacement induced by urban development projects, is becoming an increasingly significant issue in rapidly growing cities with high proportions of 'informal settlements' or 'slums'. In the case of Mumbai, India, the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), financed by the World Bank in 2002, included a Resettlement and Rehabilitation component with a Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy, embracing the World Bank's Involuntary Resettlement Policy, to help restore the overall living standards of the displaced households. This paper, based on 48 face-to-face interviews with the displaced families, assesses the impact of this resettlement, by adopting the concepts and theories of "household assets" as developed by the discourse on international development. The evidence indicating decreased household assets raises questions about the World Bank's perspective of resettlement as 'development'. This research shows that the essential endeavor for consideration in such relocation projects is not only the change in the physical environment from low-rise villages to medium-rise apartments, but also the way by which the resettlers organize themselves to manage and maintain their new form of housing. Hence, the paper suggests that resettlement projects must make a stronger commitment to allow resettlers to shift in consolidated groups, with special support for the group members to learn and to cooperate with one another to maintain their new housing. With respect to the World Bank's involuntary resettlement policy, this paper argues that the interaction between efforts to consult with the public and strategies to prevent unauthorized capture of project benefits must be closely examined. In fact, the policy may be partially applied to restrain the strategies of local agencies to prevent such capture, as the policy may not always be congruent with the intricate systems of slum settlements. The conclusion and final recommendation is for relocation analyses to be extended beyond basic housing standards, to also evaluate economic, social, and hygienic repercussions, and their influences on one another.

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