Urban Slum

Urban Slum

5107BH3.jpg
5107BH3.jpg

A great piece in the Economist on the slums of Mumbai.

For a decade, the state government has tried coaxing the slum-dwellers to let it bulldoze their hutments and build high-rise apartments instead. Each dispossessed family is entitled to a flat of 225 square feet. After 30 years, they will be allowed to sell it. But only a few have accepted this offer. So now the government is trying to enforce it. In August it put the bulldozing and redevelopment of Dharavi, in six parcels, out to tender. The work was due to begin this year. But it has been stalled by bad press nationally and local protests, organised by Mr Korde.

For small businessmen like him, the redevelopment plan is a nightmare. The slum's hutment factories, havens from tax and regulation, would be destroyed. In their place would be purpose-built workshops, for rent at commercial rates. “I will be finished,” says Mr Khan, the scholarly looking tailor. For poorer residents, like Ms Ishwar, the widow living in rubbish-blown misery, the story would be different. Her new apartment, unlike her current hovel, would be fit for human habitation. If she, or rather her relatives, sold it, they would be rich. Either way, Mr Korde admits, the scheme will eventually happen.

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