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Sunday, December 3, 2023
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The water supply will be shut on March 15 in some parts of Mumbai and Thane

Due to the shutdown, the civic body said, the water supply is likely to be at low pressure for the next one to two days until it is fully restored.

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Image: PTI

Water supply will be disrupted in Majiwada, Ghodbunder Road, Patlipada, Gandhinagar, Siddanchal, Ritu Park, Jeltaki, Siddheshwar, Samtanagar, Indiranagar, Lokmanyanagar, Srinagar, Ramnagar, and other areas. The civic body said that the water supply will be shut off for 24 hours in some parts of Kalwa and Mumbra. Due to the shutdown, the civic body said, the water supply is likely to be at low pressure for the next one to two days until it is fully restored. The civic body has advised citizens to store water and use it wisely. Water scarcity is not new to the city. The growing population’s water management infrastructure.

In 1986, the population was estimated at 530,225, but modern Dharavi has a population of between 600,000 and over 1 million people. Dharavi is one of the largest slums in the world. It used to be the largest slum in Mumbai at one time, but as of 2011, there are four slums in Mumbai larger than Dharavi. There have been many plans since 1997 to redevelop Dharavi like the former slums of Hong Kong, such as Tai Hang. In 2004, the cost of redevelopment was estimated to be Rs 5,000 crore. Companies from around the world have bid to redevelop Dharavi, including Lehman Brothers, Dubai’s Limitless, and Singapore’s CapitaLand Ltd. In 2010, it was estimated to cost Rs 15,000 crore to redevelop.

The latest urban redevelopment plan proposed for the Dharavi area, The plan involves the construction of 30,000,000 square feet (2,800,000 m2) of housing, schools, parks, and roads to serve the 57,000 families residing in the area, along with 40,000,000 square feet (3,700,000 m2) of residential and commercial space for sale. There has been significant local opposition to the plans, largely because existing residents are due to receive only 225 square feet (20.9 m2) of land each. Furthermore, only those families who lived in the area before 2000 are slated for resettlement. But this slum, Dharavi, has severe problems with public health due to the scarcity of toilet facilities, which is due in turn to the fact that most housing and 90% of the commercial units in Dharavi are illegal.

As of November 2006, there was only one toilet per 1,440 residents in Dharavi. Mahim Creek, a local river, is widely used by local residents for urination and defecation, leading to the spread of contagious diseases. The area also suffers from problems with an inadequate drinking water supply.  In most large cities, the floor space index (FSI) varies from 5 to 15 in the Central Business District (CBD) to about 0.5 or below in the suburbs. In Mumbai, the permitted FSI is uniform, and in 1991 it was fixed at 1.33. The regulations that restrict the FSI greatly reduce the floor space available for residences and businesses.

 In expensive Mumbai, Dharavi provides a cheap alternative, where rents were as low as US$4 per month in 2006.  Dharavi exports goods around the world. The total turnover is estimated to be between US$500 million and over USD 650 million per year. Dharavi is situated between Mumbai’s two main suburban railway lines, the Western and Central Railways. To its west are Mahim and Bandra, and to the north lies the Mithi River, which empties into the Arabian Sea through the Mahim Creek. To its south and east are Sion and Matunga. Both its location and poor drainage systems make Dharavi particularly vulnerable to floods during the wet season.

 The failure of the system to provide due care is not surprising. Isn’t it the way our system functions? The upper authorities consume their share; the middlemen consume theirs; and if the resource reaches the hands of the poor, the bigger fish there eat away the share of the smaller ones. So first, the authorities will have to acknowledge that slum dwellers are there, and their population is increasing at a faster rate than the general population, so swift action is required to solve their problems. They must return something to the city that makes them what they are today. The root causes of this issue are threefold. First is the unmitigated flow of population to this premier city; second is the lack of affordable housing for the poor; and the third and most important reason why the SRA could not succeed is that Maharashtra politics is dominated by the builders’ lobby.

In all the major cities of Maharashtra, builders have become politicians and vice versa, and this is true across all political parties. However, one may not misconstrue that all slum-dwellers are below-poverty-line people. In fact, many of them are quite industrious and economically well-off. It is just that land is simply not available in Mumbai, and the politician-builder community has grabbed whatever was available. The SRA never was or is the solution. What is needed is the greater spread of the city with a faster and more efficient transport system so that the population can shift and commute faster.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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