Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mumbai as Shanghai or as Bansai?

The situation of squatters in Mumbai has been both alleviated and made more complicated. Congress Party officials revolted against the Maharastra State Chief Minister's policy of demolishing tens of thousands of shanties (newspapers estimate that 90,000 homes have already been destroyed) and, after many complaints, Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi stepped in and ordered the demolitions to cease. But as soon as they won this reprieve, the squatters discovered another sell out: the Chief Minister vowed that no new housing for the poor would be built within the city limits (one report noted that the government had located land 60 km out of town.) What's more, the minister admitted that he had no idea where the government would get the money to construct as many as 800,000 homes on more than 5,000 acres of land (his estimate that this would cost R 24,700 crore -- or about $5 billion -- seemed designed more to outrage the middle class than to be realistic.)

Here are a few other commentaries and articles:

former prime minister weighs in with his thoughts

squatters to pay for new homes

the contradictions of modern Mumbai

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