The study focused on Salt Lake, a fully mature new town on the outskirts of Kolkata.
With a population of 300,000, Salt Lake is an affluent city, home to many of Kolkata’s elite. It sits in an area of frequent flooding but drainage systems, underground sewers and elevated pumping stations mean it rarely suffers from natural disasters, Rumbach noted. But two major slums - Dattabad and Kestopur - border the city and are home to many of construction workers, domestic help, food vendors and others who work in Salt Lake. Rumbach interviewed 598 workers. The majority lived in slums and were employed in Salt Lake. He found that most lived in cramped or crowded conditions which help spread diseases like influenza, cholera and tuberculosis, especially worrisome following heavy rain and floods. While the designers of Salt Lake anticipated the flood risks, they and planners of other new towns did not anticipate the thousands of low-income workers who would move to the area to work in the city. (IANS)