Why did Mumbai become a slum city


Renu Khosla

To person

Dr. Renu Khosla is Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence in New Delhi. The local non-governmental organization works directly with the people in the slums.

Renu Khosla, Director Center for Urban and Regional Excellence in New Delhi

Text version in English

German translation of the video interview

India currently has five megacities and they are all growing very quickly. You actually become the center of economic growth. As a result, there is a lot of migration to cities, which puts a strain on city services. Resources are running out. So water supply and sanitation have become a major problem for urban developers. Delhi has around 1,200 slums and illegal settlements.

When we started talking to people, we found that their priorities were different from what we had assumed. We thought that education, for example, was one of their main concerns, but no. They wonder where they get fresh water from, you know, open defecation is a problem because the communal toilets are not well maintained. So we have taken these measures, measures for better participation, we call them PLA1 measures, through which we can work on the ground, on site and create community maps there. On site we create lists of the available resources, integrate the information of the people living there about the existing sanitary facilities and about the problems they have with the facilities.

The most pressing problems in major Indian cities are drinking water supply and sanitation, according to Renu Khosla, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Excellence in New Delhi. License: cc by-nc-nd / 3.0 / de / (& copy 2007 Federal Agency for Civic Education)
At the beginning of our work with the GIS, the information system, we really only tried to enable the community members to express their needs, speak to the authorities and use the maps we created to show the officials where the problems lie. By combining this information tool with the maps of the city, city planners have the opportunity to consider the priorities of the local people when making their decisions.

In Mumbai, the government has made the political decision to upgrade the illegal slums where they originated or in the same area within two or three kilometers; whereas in Delhi it was decided to relocate the people and provide them with reasonable accommodation and basic sanitation, but between 30 and 40 kilometers away from their actual home. Today we see that poverty in Bombay has decreased, whereas we have increased the poverty of the people in Delhi who have been relocated because we have removed them from their familiar surroundings.

There is migration all over the world and we cannot stop this phenomenon. So in order to reduce the resulting problems for our own sake, we should, in my opinion, create an environment that enables these people to start an existence, get out of poverty and become more productive citizens of this city. These are not illegal people, they are legal people living in illegal areas and that is all. That doesn't make people illegal, they just live in illegal settlements because the government has not yet considered social housing a serious issue. They have not yet made the decision to build apartments on the outskirts of the city so that when migrants come to the city they have basic sanitation.

Editor: Sonja Ernst
Camera: Jörg Pfeiffer
Editing: Jörg Pfeiffer
Translation into German: Martina Heimermann