Mumbai Lens: The new slums of Mankhurd

Mankhurd is an eastern suburb of Mumbai, accessed via the Harbour Line (where it is the last station in Mumbai before the Line crosses the Vashi creek bridge to enter Navi Mumbai) or via the Sion-Trombay/Panvel Road. Apart from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Anushaktinagar colony, most of the suburb comprises slums. Mankhurd is a good illustration for Mumbai’s other name, and a name I do not like—Slumbai !

Some years back, slum areas in Mankhurd started getting redeveloped (a process that continues even today), while in other vacant areas/reclaimed land in the suburb new buildings were constructed to house slum dwellers from across Mumbai under the Slum Rehabilitation Programme for the city.

The high-rise and the slums near Maharashtra Nagar, Mankhurd

The colourful buildings that you can see in the photograph above is one such example. These were among the first set of buildings to come up on vacant/reclaimed land, and I remember reading accounts of proud and happy owners of the new apartments when they got occupation of their new homes.

Last week, when I was passing these buildings on my way to Navi Mumbai by train, I noticed something startling. There was slums outside the building compound and by the looks of it, they have been there for some time. Though it not unusual for highrises and slums to exist side by side in Mumbai, it is the first time that I saw slums right outside the buildings housing people rehabilitated from other slums.

Isn’t this ironical? Or then, maybe, it isn’t.

Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more posts from this series here.

14 thoughts on “Mumbai Lens: The new slums of Mankhurd

    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Sachin. I have an extremely romantic and nostalgic view of Pune and the few articles that I have written about Pune reflect that. I want to do a series on its various peths, but for that I have to spend some time in Pune. I have family and friends there and between them, I don’t get time for anything else.

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  1. Or maybe the rality is a bit more grim. Maybe they don’t have sufficient facilities in the Building (like water, electricity, lifts etc) and decided that they were better off before living in a slum dwelling rather than in a high rise.

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    1. Well, Akhil, I have read reports of slum dwellers going back to live in new slums after renting out or selling the apartments alloted to them. But these cases are not that many, though I could be wrong. In the case of the new slums in Mankhurd, I haven’t really been there nor have I read of any reports where people have left these apartments to go back to the slums. In my opinion, the slums are not inhabited by those from the buildings.

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  2. As in most construction sites the slum dwellers may be the very people who helped construct the buildings for rehabilitating the slum-dwellers.

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  3. This is a very interesting post. I don’t think it’s overly negative what has happened here – ironic in the contrast, yes. However I think really it just shows how only one step at a time can be taken. The people living in the high-rise have had their lives changed – but for all the Slum Rehabilitation Programme has done for those families, there are still many more out there needing housing.

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