Monday, July 2, 2012

Land Acquisition for Development Projects

The first phase of Navi Mumbai International Airport Project, is scheduled to be commissioned by 2015. However, CIDCO must acquire 450 hectares of private land covering 10 villages. CIDCO has offered to give 22.5% of developed land to the affected villagers in return for the acquisition of needed land. The villagers are in favor of the idea, and are negotiating the final details.

Of the 22.5% land, the villagers will be entitled to get 12.5% developed land as per the decision taken by the Sharad Pawar led government in 1990 for all project affected persons in Navi Mumbai.”

Reference: Jog, Sanjay, Navi Mumbai airport: Cidco offers land instead of money to villagers, Business-Standard, May 10, 2012
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A Right to Pee

Mumbai, with 20 million inhabitants, has a unique problem. There are far too many people for the number of public toilets. In a city, where millions of people depend on public toilets, even a small amount to pay to urinate, can mean less food on the table or other necessities. In a slum known as Shivaji Nagar, there is one toilet for every 300 people. And, unlike men, women have to pay to urinate.

“Women must adapt their daily routines: Many visit the bathroom early in the morning to avoid lines and leering. They avoid drinking much water. And they carry change.” After months of canvassing and campaigning by social activists, the local government has agreed to build hundreds of public toilets for women across the city.

Reference: Yardley, Jim, In Mumbai, a Campaign Against Restroom Injustice, New York Times, June 14, 2012
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Urban Transportation System

The 100-year old suburban train system that stretches more than 37 miles is often called Mumbai’s lifeline. It carries up to 7.4 million passengers daily. The decade long economic boom and rising auto ownerships have worsened the traffic situation. The average traffic speed was just 5 miles per hour in 2005.

However, Mumbai’s effort to alleviate the traffic logjam has been very slow. The first phase of the Mumbai Urban Transport project is expected to be ready by 2013, almost a decade behind schedule, due to the difficulty of relocating thousands of slum dwellers. This $1.06 Billion project is financed by the World Bank. Other projects include a metro, a monorail, new arterial roads, a trans-harbor bridge and a proposal for a $1.4 billion coastal roadway.

"Change is happening, though it is happening slowly."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Elevated House For A Billionaire

A 27 story house for an Indian Billionaire is finally complete. The house is worth $1 billion, and includes helipads, library, extravagant dining areas, a multistory garage, a ballroom, a spa, a theater and guest quarters. The house rises to a height of 570 feet, which is equivalent to a 40 story building, because many of the floors have double or triple floor to ceiling heights. The owners wanted an elevated house on top of a garden.

Reference: Vaidyanathan, Rajini, Ambanis give first view inside 'world’s priciest house’ in Mumbai, BBC News, Mumbai, 2012
Photo Credit: Jhariani under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Exposing Corruption and Poverty in Mumbai's Slums

Katherine Boo, a New Yorker staff writer and a reporter for the Washington Post, sheds light on Mumbai’s poor in her first book - "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity". The book was released in February and has become a top New York Times best seller in its category. She describes life in Annawadi, which is a slum area adjacent to Mumbai’s five start hotels within minutes from the airport. She joined the slum dwellers in their night time trips to construction sites to steal scrap metal, watched community feuds, witnessed police corruption, conducted many interviews and searched thousands of public documents. Her research reveals that corruption permeates at every level of the government. By shedding light on corruption and poverty, she hopes to raise awareness and incite greater scrutiny.

Slums of Mumbai:


Reference: Burzynski, Andrea, Pulitzer winner Boo unmasks Mumbai poverty in new book, Reuters, March 13, 2012
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Monday, April 30, 2012