A Nightmare For Slum Dwellers

Vishnu Savant has lived in Mumbai's Khar Golibar Slums for his entire life. His parents moved there in the 1960s around the time it was established. Today his house has been razed to the ground. His few possessions, like his future, lie stacked precariously in the midst of the rubble. "When they came to demolish the house, I remembered how we had made it bit by bit by collecting money. I got a heart attack when it happened... I have my entire family here with me, where are we supposed to go?", he asks. Vishnu is one of millions who have met the same fate across slums in Mumbai. A public-private partnership plans to demolish slums and put the residents in buildings on part of the land. But there is a catch-- only those who have been living in the slums since before 1995 are eligible for the free housing. Private builders will build on the rest of the land that will get freed up from the demolition of slums to be sold at a massive profit. In reality the slum redevelopment scheme has spelt out a nightmare for slum dwellers. If at first the residents do not move out, the builders in cahoots with the politicians use brute force to make sure they do. The moves are all part of a bold plan to make Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, slum free in the next five years. Once again the most marginalised, the poorest will bear the brunt in India's race to economic development. Zulekha asks you to join the protest. Call to Action: Please call the Mumbai Municipal Corporation on 022-26590519/ 26590405 and ask them to ensure that the rehabilitation process follows the law.

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