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Ratan Tata: Outbreak in slums forces Mumbai to face its “shame” | India Business News


MUMBAI: Imagine that 8-9 lakh people huddle in an area of ​​2.5 square kilometers, and you get a population density that is perhaps the highest anywhere on the planet. That is Dharavi’s disorganized expansion in the heart of Mumbai, where experts fear the spread of the infection the most. Referring to the housing policies that have given rise to those slum-dominated neighborhoods within Mumbai, Tata Group President Emeritus Ratan Tata described it on Monday as “a wake-up call” for planners and administrators struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic through social distancing.

Tata, speaking on a virtual panel discussion on the “Future of Design and Construction” observed by several thousand, said the Covid-19 outbreak had served to underscore a housing crisis that deprived thousands of Mumbai residents from fresh air and open spaces.

“We design high-value homes and provide waste in the slums. We should be ashamed because we have the image that we want to project of ourselves and there is a part that we want to hide. We take offense when people criticize it, but we have social responsibilities as architects and builders. The theme of the crown is a wake-up call to what is being seen. What worries us is that it turns and bites us, ”he said.

Tata, a trained architect, who regrets that he was unable to practice architecture except for two years in Los Angeles, did not mock the conditions of slum dwellers. Its occupants live on top of each other in a manner of speaking, he added, referring to the multi-story slum structures on the compound. “We as architects and developers are pleased to do that,” said Tata.

Tata, who spoke in a discussion hosted by CorpGini, a global innovation platform, also questioned the policy of eliminating slums and moving occupants to tight, high-density structures 20-30 miles away. “For the first time, the proximity and low value structures that we have built are the cause of new problems. The past few months have taught us that we are suffering from close proximity, ”he said.

“I think there should be a re-examination of what we consider acceptable standards in terms of quality of life,” said the industrialist. While high-value homes are located in slums, the residue is like “collecting trash and calling it a community, making it difficult to survive,” in a clear reference to slum rehabilitation policies.

“Maybe there should be a review in terms of the fact that we are dealing with communities, we are dealing with populations that need to be part of the new India. We are creating a community that we are ashamed of. We should be really motivated by the desire to create a world culture, ”he said.

Tata added: “In the past few months, we have been honored to realize that a disease could spread worldwide … I think we should consider this problem as our problem and not as its problem. We need to be concerned about quality of life. everywhere. We have to ask ourselves, are we ashamed of what we see or proud of what we see? We need to consider urban communities as one. We need to consider the ownership of slums rather than rents. We need to be ashamed of what we are doing and we must focus on being proud of what we are doing. Mumbai and Maharashtra need to be proud of the transition they are making. And the transition must be real. ”

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