Slum dwellers in Mumbai have no choice but to live beside open gutters.
Community Correspondent Amol Lalzare grew up in the slums of Sathe Nagar in Mumbai. He speaks of the terrible conditions that his family, neighbors and around 50% of Mumbai's teeming crowds live in.
“Ever since I can remember, we have lived in acute poverty. My parents were illiterate and had to fend for us by doing odd jobs involving a lot of physical labour. Due to financial problems, we had to sell off our entire house for much lower than the market rate and cramp up in one single room. For a family of five, this certainly wasn’t easy. I even left my education half way through and began riding rickshaws so as to make life a little easier.”
Living in a slum meant that basic amenities like water, electricity, hospitals, schools, toilets and sanitation became luxuries. Says Amol, “These things come at a very high price for us slum dwellers. The government, instead of helping us, seems to believe that because of our poverty we deserve to live like animals.”
“I believe that sanitation is an issue that must be dealt with as soon as possible. Proper hygiene and sanitation standards directly affect one’s health, and this must not be allowed to have a price set on it. Because of the lack of a simple gutter, women and children fall sick very often and also get injured frequently. The men go out for work, so they do not have to live in these conditions all day. But the rest of their family has no such choice.”
For over ten years, thousands of families living in the Mankhurd slums have been falling sick because of open gutters. Government authorities continue to make promises of fixing the situation, but these have remained hollow. Amol is hoping that this video begins the process of change.
“I need my community people to become aware of their rights and fight for them. If we don’t move a muscle, why should anybody else bother with our problems? I hope that this video will open their eyes, along with others all over the world. Enough of romanticizing the slums of India; we need an impact.”
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