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Looking ahead June 23, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in contemplation, india.

..with hope that is.

Dharavi is often called the world’s largest slum, though this sobriquet is in all probability an exaggeration. The National Geographic magazine’s recent cover story on Dharavi says that a barrio in Mexico City has four times more people while a slum in Karachi, too, is now bigger than Dharavi. But Dharavi is now in the news because of a more recent sobriquet—Asia’s largest urban renewal project. This project seeks to tear down the old slum and replace it with residential towers, industrial parks, golf courses, a sports complex and hotels. Grime is to give way to glitter. The statistics are truly mind-boggling: 300,000 people, 500 acres, 40 million sq. ft of space to be sold commercially, Rs9,000 crore, seven years— and one man championing it all since 1996.

I wish Mr. Mehta well and nothing sarcastic about it. And no cynicism either. I ( and am sure millions of others ) would love to see this project no just because of what it will do people at Dharavi but really the spill-over effect of its success will reach millions others elsewhere. I remember reading an article a while ago about how at a press conference announcing the project, the government was surprised to see the presence of the international media. Of course, foreign and private Indian companies are (rightly) interested given the money involved.

I am sure though that in the months to come there will be controversy, allegations of corruption and other hurdles – after all, its hard to keep several parties happy and given the not-so-impressive history of such attempts, it helps to be vigilant. In the end though, I hope it turns out well.



1. Sadiq - June 23, 2007

Awesome stuff man!

Good news from India hopefully will start its “gushing through” than mere “trickling down” in the poverty sector as we need to bridge the gap as much as we can.

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