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More than 500 acres of shanties and unremarkable buildings transformed into five organised, self-sustained sectors. Each sector will be the size of two Nariman Points, with plush housing, malls, multiplexes, pottery institutes, leather designing centres, a proposed cricket museum and stadium, gardens, parks and world class public transport...Not only will slumdwellers be rehabilitated in the same sector their homes are in, but they wont even have to go to a neighbouring sector for a morning jog,'
Bombay can no longer afford to ignore the fact that its slum-dwelling population has soared to more than 10 million, in part because so many migrants have been flocking to the city. But there are no plans to relocate the thousands of successful businesses run out of Dharavi. Adding to the controversy, the proposal to move residents is based on the official number of families legally residing there51,000not the true figure, which includes hundreds of thousands of illegal squatters. To residents, the plan is an attempt to dump them outside the city once more. "Of course we want Dharavi to be developed," says Bhaukorde. "That's why we worked so hard all these years. The question is: Developed for whom? The government's idea of development doesn't include us. I've seen the plans. Wonderful. No room at all for ugly poor people."
The government may keep building castles in the air, but Dharavi's residents have their feet firmly planted on terra firma. Like Selvaraj, they know better than to trust one more promise to transform their lives. They prefer to take things in their own hands and do it themselves. "Instead of giving land to builders, why doesn't the government give it to people instead? Then they can develop it the way they want to. And the profit can go to people rather than builders," said a resident.