Mumbai Slum A Battleground Between Dwellers and Developers

The battle over development continues in Dharavi, the largest slum in India. Its valuable location in Mumbai has had developers' mouths watering for years, but residents have resisted their drive to demolish and rebuild the slum.
September 8, 2008, 2pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"With the economy and consumption soaring, recycling is good business here, a source of jobs for thousands, from scavengers to sorters to manufacturers."

"Their collective toil is just part of the daily bustle in this teeming shantytown in India's financial and entertainment capital. About half a million people live and work in Dharavi -- recyclers, tailors, leather tanners, laundrymen, potters, cloth dyers and shopkeepers, all jammed into a single square mile of narrow alleys and rickety buildings made from corrugated metal sheets."

"They are some of Mumbai's poorest residents. They also happen to be sitting on some of the world's most valuable real estate."

"Because of their location, Dharavi's residents have been locked for years in a tug of war with government officials who look hungrily at such choice land and dream their own dreams of reincarnation."

"If the officials get their way, the slum will be demolished and reborn as a gleaming collection of high-rise apartments, office towers and manicured parks. Residents who arrived before 2000 would be re-housed elsewhere in Dharavi in small flats of 225 square feet -- smaller than a suburban American garage -- while an influx of richer folk and big companies would turn the area into one of Mumbai's fashionable addresses."

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Published on Monday, September 8, 2008 in The Los Angeles Times
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