In the inner city areas in the urban centers of Kerala, a large number of people belonging to the low-income groups reside often in dangerous dilapidated old tenements, buildings and houses. In Bombay for instance there were more than 19,000 residential buildings each having a number of tenements, which were constructed prior to 1940 and are in a dilapidated condition, and requiring urgent repairs. Some of these are even beyond repairs and need to be reconstructed or rebuilt completely.
The work involving the repair and reconstruction of buildings here is of a complicated nature and often beyond the meager financial capacity of the tenants and the landlords. But from humanitarian considerations it is a most pressing problem requiring urgent attention. Through a Repair and Construction Board, some buildings could have been repaired in Bombay. However, this work could be better undertaken by non-profit institutions, voluntary agencies, building owners or the tenants themselves in groups with the full support of the government and other public sector institutions.
With respect to developments in real estate Kerala is following a particular pattern of blending the old with the new. In many parts of the state the government has already identified scores of old houses and other structures that require the special sanction of the government when undertaking further alterations and repairs. The tireless efforts of the renowned environmentalists and other historians on the need to preserve the old charm of certain parts of the city have gone well with the public and also the state government.
But more needs to be done with respect to buildings and structures that are so old and thus beyond repair. Certain organizations have stood in between development and the demolition of structures that have posed a hazard to the people living around it. But in most cases wiser counsel has prevailed and thus the best course of action could be taken.