Dharavi redevelopment is a big-reward challenge1 min read . Updated: 04 Dec 2022, 10:49 PM IST
The mention of Dharavi, Mumbai’s slum sprawl, evokes a variety of images and conjures up numerous associations
The mention of Dharavi, Mumbai’s slum sprawl, evokes a variety of images and conjures up numerous associations. It was labelled “Asia’s largest slum", a matter of shame for many Mumbai residents who saw the 750-acre conurbation as an eyesore fit for obliteration. It was once the stomping ground for a local slumlord from a southern state who morphed into a modern-day mafia don, inspiring not only semi-biographical cinema fare but also sectarian politics of local-versus-migrant workers. Bollywood aside, Dharavi also inspired Oscar winner Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, which depicted the area’s residents as a flinty and doughty lot, one million residents living in hovels, struggling to make ends meet but displaying deep reserves of human resilience and tolerance. Dharavi hosts plenty of enterprise and micro-entrepreneurship, with small manufacturing units, shops and boutiques in cheek-by-jowl existence. Dharavi means different things to different people. This then raises the question of what it could mean to the Adani Group, which last week won the rights to redevelop Dharavi, hopefully fulfilling an ambitious project plan that has been in the works for 18 years.