More destitute, more illiterate, closer to death, denied of basic
amenities, devoid of adequate health facilities, without proper
banking services, facing police high-handedness and almost zilch
job offers. Exactly five years after the Sachar Committee revealed
in 2006 similar findings about the Indian Muslims, a govt
sponsored report laid bare the
shoddy state and inhuman condition the Malegaonians – the people
in Malegaon, the Muslim dominated town of North Maharashtra are living in.
Written by Dr Abdul Shaban, an Associate Professor at the Centre
for Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
Mumbai, the 221 pages report was commissioned in January 2010 to TISS Mumbai by
Minorities Development Department, Govt of Maharashtra and State
Minorities Commission. After a year of labour, TISS submitted it
to the Minorities Commission on December 20, 2011.
• Male Population: 239,243
• Female Population: 231,763
• Children (0-6): 74,494
• Below poverty line: 56.5 %
• Average household size: 7.2
• People living in slums: 76%
• Attending educational institution ( below 15 yrs of age):
• Attending educational institution (15-30): 20.90%
• Average monthly income: Less than Rs. 911/-
• Per capita income of 1/3rd population: Less than Rs. 500
The report aimed at studying the socio-economic and infrastructural
situation in Malegaon, and preparing a Multi-Sectoral Development
Plan for the town, clearly sates that if suitable measures are not
initiated even now the town which has already been ‘ghettoised
beyond control’ would be pushed further deep into what seems to be
a ‘living hell’ already.
Stating that about 76% families live either in dilapidated
wood/tin houses or in huts with iron/wooden pillar and tin/plastic
roofs with most of the lanes and roads remaining water logged and
full of potholes/ditches, the report riddled with data
and tables observes, in comparison to other towns of similar size,
Malegaon is very underdeveloped, both economically as well as
infrastructure-wise forcing majority of its population to live in
slums and dilapidated small houses.
“A large part of Malegaon looks like
any slum in Mumbai in terms of its make up, congestion, and in
fact even worst than that", it says.
Exposing the dearth of basic amenities, the report says, public
toilets in considerable part of the city are either not available
or are in unusable condition.
“Contrary to the claims made by
local authorities, public toilets are conspicuously absent in the
town and particularly in Muslim concentrated areas. At many places
they are in unusable condition and have even become threat to
public health because of their un-cleanliness”, it says.
About inadequate water supply in the
town, the report says, the supply of water to the residents of
Malegaon is very erratic and unreliable.
"In most part of the city water
comes on tap only on alternate days and in summer the gap can be
even of three-days to a week", it observes.
Observing that many areas of the
city are still unserved by the street lighting, the reports says,
the roads and streets remain water logged during rainy seasons and
create additional inconvenience in the absence of proper lighting.
Total schools surveyed (Urdu/Marathi): 80/6
• Student-Teacher ratio: 44:1/52:1
• Average no. of rooms available per school: 6/7
• Schools with drinking water: 24/4
• Schools with boys' toilet: 9/3
• Schools with girls' toilet: 8/3
• Schools with electricity: 23/1
• Schools with playground: 39/3
Revealing the stark condition under which the people are working
in powerloom industry, the report says that the work condition by
and large is characterised by long hours of work in deafening
sound of looms, no proper ventilation and basic civic amenities,
informal nature of work and low wages.
“Yet, due to the absence of
alternate job opportunities people are forced to work under such a
condition and in return to wages as low as Rs. 26 per day", it
Analysing the share of Muslim youths in government jobs, the
report says, there is almost total absence of Muslims in
Administrative Govt. Employee grade 'A ' jobs, while in Grade ‘B’
their representation is a miniscule 0.1 per cent.
“Thus, the limited clerical jobs and
teaching seem to be the only avenues for employment for educated
Muslim youth of Malegaon”, it says.
"This only shows that Muslims suffer
even lower access to the casual employment, and regular public
employment remains a dream for them", the report says.
About the communal infighting that plagued the city for decades,
the report, while observing that a larger share of population from
both the communities still remains integrated, questioned the role
of police during the riots.
Stating that Muslims feel police
remain obsessed to trouble and punish them harshly even at the
slightest provocation, the report observes, “They also feel that
Police has been responsible for worsening of many riots in the
city as they started killing Muslims and looting their houses and
shops instead of preventing the damage due to riots.”
Children at risk'
• Illiterate: 10.91 %
• Below primary: 05.36%
• Primary: 17.21%
• Middle: 33.65%
• Secondary: 17.13%
• Higher secondary: 08.83%
• Graduate (Arts & Commerce): 04.57%
• Graduate (Engineering &Tech.): 0.59%
• Graduate (Medicine): 0.09%
• Post-Graduate & above: 0.81%
• Hafiz/Qari: 0.84%
The report though terms the entire
population of Malegaon vulnerable to dangers arising out of the
existing socio-economic, civic and educational crisis, it has some
startling data to show how women and children are affected due to
rampant poverty besides lack of amenities.
Stating that about 45.4 per cent of the total recorded deaths
among Muslims have been of children below 5 years of age, the
report directly links the increasing child mortality rate to
It states that almost about 90 per
cent of death of infants below 1 month, 50% of deaths in the age
group of 2-12 months and majority of deaths in the age group of
6-14 years is due to underweight and malnutrition.
“It clearly shows that access to
nutritious food is still a far-fetched dream for the vast majority
of would-be-mothers”, the report observes.
Stating that a sizeable population of about 57% of the total lives
below poverty line, the reports says that due to rampant poverty a
large number of children work to support their families in the
town rather than attend educational institutions.
“In fact, it won’t be an
exaggeration to say that there is hardly any type of work in the
town where children cannot be found", it says.
About the poor condition of the
municipal schools the report observes, besides improper access
road, in many schools there are no compound gates and animals like
cows and dogs wander even in classrooms.
“Worse, there are people who
defecate and urinate in school compounds in the night times”, the
Detailing the lack of resources and basic requirements in schools,
the report says that most of the schools are lacking in sufficient
staff, benches, drinking water and electricity.
"There is an extreme lack of
infrastructural facilities among schools and colleges and
specifically in Municipal schools", it says.
“The most astonishing fact is that
even the girl-schools do not have toilet and drinking water
facilities", the TISS report says while also analyzing the
impact of the extremely bad condition of schools on students
especially the girls.
A condensed form of
the above report appeared in The Time of India,
Mumbai/Nashik print edition on Thursday, February 23, 2012.