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Mulund-Dharavi is a govt problem it should solve

Updated on: 11 April,2024 06:51 AM IST  |  Mumbai
The Editorial |

And what about the Dharavi residents themselves, who say, “We are from Central Mumbai, and we don’t want to live in the Eastern Suburbs”

Mulund-Dharavi is a govt problem it should solve

The Mulund dumping ground is another rehabilitation site. Pic/Sameer Markande

The last few months have seen a series of strange protests in Mulund. Residents here have demonstrated against a proposal to accommodate Project-Affected People (PAP) in their neighbourhood. The proposals are for the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) and a few other civic projects.

While one of the proposed sites is near Kelkar College, which is a small plot for homes for those affected by a few BMC-related projects, the other is a 64-acre parcel, which is land discarded from a nixed dumping ground project and the erstwhile Octroi Naka, which is supposed to house 4 lakh people from Dharavi.

No neighbourhood in this megapolis of mostly migrants has ever resisted a move against so-called ‘outsiders’ before. But this could also be because the proposal itself is unprecedented. Not since 1992 has a possibility of close to five lakh people getting displaced faced this city. And what was witnessed in 1992 was a forced displacement following tragic communal violence and rioting. This is the first time such a displacement is being contemplated officially. This is because of a provision in the DRP agreement, which allows the developer to look for space elsewhere if unable to find alternatives close by.

And while there seems to be an element of truth in Mulund residents’ claim that there is not enough resources or infrastructure to accommodate such a large influx, there are also shades of classism and discrimination, with words like ‘Navi Dharavi’ and ‘Navi Mumbra’ thrown around casually.

And what about the Dharavi residents themselves, who say, “We are from Central Mumbai, and we don’t want to live in the Eastern Suburbs.”

All said, this is a classic case of the government creating a problem where none existed. And it would do well to untie itself from the knots it has tied itself up in. But with all-important elections around, this issue does not seem to be top of mind for the government.

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