A few days ago I observed a mechanical digger close to where I live. It had made a deep hole close to one building, and it seemed quite a bit like they are planning to set up a new house there. At first I had no idea about what this is all about, but maybe this article at Powai.Info tell something. One interesting issue in the article is that it talks about “slum rehabilitation”. And this is actually happening exactly where I’m living. Sangharsh Nagar is my address and my home! So does that mean that I do live in a slum? Maybe it kind of does. I mean, I really don’t feel like living in a slum, but can surely agree that some areas around me are not that nice. There are woman who carry water from tanks, so I guess they don’t have water in their homes. But if this is really a slum, what is than the even worse areas? It is not that bad around here. We do have shops. People seem to be clean. There are absolutely no beggars around. If you look at this article from the company that will redevelop the area, you can see how they are planning that it should look. And, as you can read in this article in Mumbai Mirror, there is off course some controversy here.
One other issue with this rehabilitation or development is the question regarding who will benefit from it? One of my colleagues told me that when they decide to develop an area, everyone who live there will have to move to another place while the development is going on, as their houses will be taken apart. And to get a new place in Mumbai is not at all that easy. There are already too many people who are looking for a place to live. And the construction of new houses can take years, which means that people have to stay at another place for that long time.
What most often happen is that those people who have to temporarily move will be promised to get a new flat in the new building. This off course seems like a good idea both for the people living there and for the builders. The people will get completely new and nice flat. The builders will have a chance to build there. And if you tear down a 5 storey building and replaces it with a 25 storey building, you should be able to afford to give away some flats to those who have had to move out. The problem here is that in these new buildings there will most often be some maintenance costs. And these costs will be much higher than what it used to be before. So many people who have waited for years to move back to their own building just cannot afford to stay there! So after having had to live away from their home from years, they will again have to move, while some richer people will move in. This is the sad part of the development going on in Mumbai, where there is still such a lack of homes.
This evening I will be heading to Nasik for the wine festival over there. Will tell you more about that later.