One of the tragic eyesores of modern India, the Dharavi slum in Mumbai epitomizes the failure of the Indian state to provide the most basic necessities for its citizens.
Asia’s biggest slum, Dharavi is located in Central Mumbai, between Mahim in the west and Sion in the east and attracts poor people from across India who come to this teeming metropolis in search of a better life.
After decades of neglect, the government seems finally to have woken up to its responsibilities.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) on May 31, 2007 has an advertisement from the Slum Rehabilitation Authority of the Government of Maharashtra inviting developers to bid for a project to transform this dirty slum into an integrated township with all modern amenities.
The overall cost of this ambitious project is put at $2.3 billion.
The Maharashtra government wants to transform the slum into a developed township with infrastructure for HIKES:
* Health Facilities
* Income Generation
* Knowledge Resources
* Socio-Cultural Development
The project intends to provide civic facilities like schools, medical centers, recreational centers and basic infrastructure like water supply to the residents of Dharavi, most of whom currently live in shanties in unhygienic conditions.
If all goes well, Dharavi should be transformed in seven years. But the project presents a severe challenge as it must deal with decades of neglect.