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Dharavi not Asia`s largest slum, it is Karachi: UNDP

Last Updated: Sunday, September 6, 2009 - 23:58

Mumbai: Dharavi, which is in the heart of India`s financial capital Mumbai, is not the largest slum in Asia as many believe, according to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

"Dharavi is not Asia`s largest slum, but Karachi`s Orangi Township has surpassed Dharavi," the Human Development Report for Mumbai, compiled with the help of UNDP and released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), said.

Mexico City`s Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio has four times as many people as Dharavi, it said.

Dharavi, a congested slum area, being used as workplaces adds to several risks including fire and health, that houses nearly 57,000 families, the report said.

Dharavi, often associated with crime, filth and environmental degradation mainly due to congestion, bad constructions, unauthorised trades and overpopulation, covers parts of suburban Sion, Bandra, Kurla and Kalina and is spread across 175 hectares.

It has grabbed global attention after Danny Boyle`s film, `Slumdog Millionaire.` "Chemicals including acid are known to flow through
Dharavi`s open drains because of tanning activity that flourishes there," the report said.

Small businesses, from pots and pans to purses and papad
making, are being undertaken in the slum where the major
population is of migrants, who land in the city seeking a
livelihood for themselves.

"Outbreaks of malaria, leptospirosis, diarrhoea, dengue
and hepatitis are just some of the diseases attributed to poor
water and sanitation facilities in Dharavi," the report said.

A Rs 9,260 crore Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP),
drawn up by US-trained architect Mukesh Mehta, was approved in
2004, but is still awaiting implementation.

The plan is a part of Maharashtra government`s effort to
transform Mumbai into an International Finance Centre and has
attracted attention from both Indian and foreign developers.

As per the plan, there will be a residential area with
schools, hospitals and other amenities, four commercial zones
including a Gems and Jewellery district and a leather

There is also a proposal to rehabilitate families in 225
square feet multi-storeyed tenements.

A part of several Bollywood films based on Mumbai
underworld, including Mira Nair`s `Salaam Bombay`, Anurag
Kashyap`s `Black Friday`, Ram Gopal Varma`s `Sarkar` series
and the latest, Vishal Bhardwaj`s `Kaminey`, have been shot in
the Dharavi.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 6, 2009 - 23:58

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