shies away from AMC slum projects
By Ojas Mehta
possibly never struck the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation as hard in all its history. On
one hand it is busy celebrating its maiden success in the pilot project of upgrading the
slums at Sanjaynagar, at the same time, some of the major companies in the city are
hesitant to strike an alliance with it.
- While the AMC is trying hard to locate an industrial partner to sponsor its slum
networking projects, the initial enthusiasm that the industry had shown towards such
projects seems to have fizzled out. While Arvind Mills, co-partner in the earlier slum
upgradation project at Sanjaynagar, has already refused offers from the AMC to co-finance
such developmental projects, the Lions Club of Ahmedabad has for reasons unknown
backtracked from its earlier commitment to co-sponsor the Pravinnagar-Guptanagar project.
with the AMC is impossible, says Prof. V L Mote, director of Arvind Mills and one of the
major player in the Sanjaynagar project. We have burnt our fingers badly and there
is no way we can do business with the AAMC again, he said. Prof. Mote claimed that the AMC
owes the company Rs.2.25 lakhs.
commissioner B K Sinha was evasive when asked why the companies were dithering to lend
support to its project. The problem has not yet come up before me, but I do not think
there is much of a problem, he said. But with no deadlines fixed for the various
projects and the snails pace at which the projects are proceeding, the AMC does seem
to be grasping for breath. The AMC in fact has reportedly written to 30 leading companies
in the city, including Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Asoka Mills an affiliate of Arvind, but
has failed to evoke response. The Lions Club has backed out for lack of funds, a top
AMC official told The Asian Age.
- But according to another source the Lions Club wrapped up its plans as soon as the
tenure of the district governor under whom the decision was taken ended. Since then a hunt
for partners has proved futile.
AMC is however undeterred by the poor response and has resigned itself to go it alone if
the search for partners does not materialise. The alliance partner will have to rake
in Rs.24 lakhs at Pravinnagar. But we are prepared for the worst as the AMC has decided to
see the project through even if the cost is not shared a senior official at the AMC
World Bank has evinced keen interest in slum networking projects and it is considering the
prospect of lending support, the source said.
Dwijendra Tripathi, who authored the book Alliance for Change, has an explanation for
AMCs failure to acquire partners.
companies in Ahmedabad have not yet reached a stage when they could consider the prospect
of charity, he said. He emphasised that the four stages of development for a
successful company as riches, profit, charity and social responsibility. The priorities of
the recent entrants to the industrial field have changed, the professor added.
reason, and a more prudent one, could be to draw inference from the reasons that led to
the strain in relation between the AMC and Arvind Mills during the Sanjaynagar project.
Many saw it as doomed to fail, as there was no preparation of a ground to reduce the
possibility of friction between the AMC and Arvind Mills in the initial stages of the
project. Generally speaking the AMC had the
resolve and the powers to short-circuit the decision making machinery which a corporate
body has and Arvind Mills apparently failed to examine the procedural shackles that binds
AMC. According to observers, this difference in work culture later snowballed into a major
feud between the two.
main problem was that the two partners began competing rather than complementing each
other, an AMC official involved with the project said.
Saath, the third partner involved with community development, had figured that the sharp
differences between AMC and Arvind Mills will eventually sound the death knell for the
had a prior commitment from Arvind Mills for the Pravinnagar project. But as its relation
with the AMC ran into rough weather, Saaths integrity was at stake, Saaths
chief Rajendra Joshi said.
Prof. Dwijendra Tripathi, the best thing about the alliance experiment was that
Sanjaynagar did happen. The differences, however major, should have been replaced by the
pride of success as soon as the project was completed. Changing the lives of 181
households within the estimated budget and that too within the time frame is no small
for the citys slum dwellers the tussle is bound to reflect on the various AMC
slum-networking projects which are in the pipeline.
Focus: Sharda Trust to train drivers
allying with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in its slum networking project at
Sanjaynagar the Sharda Trusts next focus is a training programme for drivers.
recently launched programme by the Strategic Help Alliance for Relief to Distressed Areas
Trust is a step towards achieving its objective i.e. to upgrade skills of the deprived
sections of urban populace.
corporate body has the means and sources to upgrade skills of the distressed sections of
the society. With the right approach it can certainly usher in development among slum
dwellers, Prof. Mote, trustee Sharda Trust said.
trust is a sister organisation of the Arvind Mills.
tasted success with the sewing machine training programme for slum women in the city, the
trust is now trying to expand its areas of work.
idea for the drivers training programme originated during the course of a slum
networking project when the trust felt the need to reach out to the slum dwellers and
inculcate a sense of fierce competitiveness in them.
had seen the community development taken up by Saath during the slum networking project
and felt that with the type of resources we had, backed with corporate support, we could
perform the task better, Prof. Mote said
have been successful in placing trained drivers in various establishments, including the
affiliate organisations of the trust who are now drawing a decent income. This is
something that they could never have dreamt to accomplish, he added.
were however, several cases when the organisations sacked the services of the drivers as
they lacked the discipline and attitude needed in a professional organisation.
hire and fire policy of the modern day organisations is something that the
people could not relate to.
Trust therefore focussed on sensitising the drivers to the human dimensions and expected
standards in professional organisations.
trust also arranged for a training programme for the drivers after they were thoroughly
trained in the requisite driving skills.
training session itself is tough as the drivers have to go through the rigours of learning
to drive during the night and under difficult lighting conditions.
driver is also familiarised with the traffic rules and driving in congested roads of
after such an intense ritual the driver is placed as an apprentice in various
organisations and eventually recruited as a full-fledged employee.
drivers training programme as a means to attain our objective was changed after
looking into the rising demand of trained drivers in the city.
cost of training and the time per person was also less compared to other programme and the
most important fact that the educational qualifications is not essential pre-requisite for
the programme, Prof. Mote said.
trust also gauged the response to training programme and initially train only three
persons. Now the trust has planned to train 150 drivers in the year 1999 alone.
the objectives of the trust are educational, physical and material advancement of the
deprived and the advantaged section of the urban population India.