From Mumbai to “Slumbai”

As India’s economic capital and most populous city, Mumbai has a total population of 12.44 million — 42 percent of whom live in slums. Slums are squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people. Almost 11 million people living in slums, Maharashtra has the largest slum population. Squatter is a property which is unlawfully occupied can be uninhabited or unused land.

The UN-HABITAT  (United Nations Human Settlements Program) defines slums as household that cannot provide following basic living characteristics:

  1. Durable housing of a permanent nature that protects against extreme climate conditions.
  2. Sufficient living space, which means no more than three people sharing the same room.
  3. Easy access to safe water in sufficient amounts at an affordable price.
  4. Access to adequate sanitation in the form of a private or public toilet shared by a reasonable number of people.
  5. Security of tenure that prevents forced evictions.

Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi located in Mumbai Maharashtra with 175 hectares of land and one million of Mumbai’s inhabitants. It is one of the hottest places of tourism for foreigners. There is a tour provided by reality tours and travellers for Rs 900 for almost 2.5 hrs. It has a wide range of business activities like recycling, pottery-making, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather tanning, poppadom-making and many more. The different industry’s turnover leading to almost US$ 665 million. People from all over India have come to live in Dharavi, making it a microcosm of India. This diversity is apparent in the temples, mosques, churches, and pagodas that stand side by side. But it’s the only the glamorous part.

Dharavi has sizable 26 percent of India’s population; they represent the poorest of the urban poor. Having bad sanitation and housing conditions. Majority of jobs in the informal sector to serve their financial needs while still harbouring dreams of making it big in the city someday. Lack of education breeds criminal, Drug abuse finds its roots here. Even the rich kids head to the slums for their weekly weed supply. Defecating on the streets, child marriages and gross negligence of hygiene has led to a high mortality rate among them. In one instance, in a survey conducted among the slums of Vadodara, many of the youth there believed that HIV could be spread by mosquito bites. These people never know when the electricity might be cut off, and the trickle of water coming out of taps stop. They are treated like third rate citizens.

A film like Slumdog Millionaire brought to the world’s notice the condition of slums in India.

Mumbai’s squatter settlement of Dharavi is now home to over 1 million people. Many are second-generation families. Dharavi lies between two railway lines on low-lying land, previously used as a rubbish tip, and is one of the biggest squatter settlements in the world. It is overcrowded, noisy and smelly. Many houses are made from cardboard, wood, corrugated iron, plastic sheeting, or metal from oil drums. Houses become more substantial and permanent towards Dharavi’s centre. A lack of sanitation and clean drinking water for most residents. Pollution and disease are common from the open sewers – there are an average of 4,000 cases of typhoid and diphtheria each day. Thousands of workshops and people are employed in the informal job sector – 75% of people have a job and most work locally, with an annual turnover of £350 million. Despite these all conditions they have a strong sense of community spirit and pride.

Compensation to clear squatters encroaching on public land for these the state will provide a one-time cash compensation to families. So far, the state used to rehabilitate such families by providing tenements ad measuring 265sqft and 300sqft in urban and semi-urban areas, respectively. Squatter settlements can be improved through urban planning. The plan to improve Dharavi is called Vision Mumbai. This involves replacing squatter settlement housing with high quality high-rise tower blocks of flats. The Indian government also wants to add basic services, more schools, health centers, shops, better roads, and more jobs. The improvement of Dharavi has not yet begun due to costs (estimated at about £2 billion) and the size of the problems.

Slum Rehabilitation Authority {SRA} Launched by Government of Maharashtra, to implement the slum rehabilitation schemes by providing a single window clearance for all types of approvals that are required for the project namely formation of co-operative societies, certification of eligibility of slum-dwellers, taking punitive action on non-participating slum-dwellers obstructing the scheme, survey and measurement on slum lands grant of building permissions, leasing of rehabilitation plots and free-sale plots and updating of property cards (PR cards). Having 1481 schemes. Started with Shivsrujan CHS. Somaiya Trust.  10-09-90. Many efforts are taken, but poverty and slums are so infused in the country that it will take a lot many years for us to reduce it to smaller number.


Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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