Dharavi is Asia’s largest slum. Dharavi is located in the central region of Mumbai. Dharavi is sandwiched between Mahim in the west and Sion in the west. It encompasses a huge area along the Mahim River. Most of the inhabitants are Tamil migrants who have migrated to the city in search of employment. Dharavi lacks basic infrastructure such as sanitation and health care. Most of the electricity is pilfered from the overhead high tension lines and the water from the underground city mains. Sanitation is a non-entity and the area is filthy and repulsive, mainly due to the apathy of politicians. Several redevelopment schemes mooted by the government and funded by the World Bank and by HRH The Prince of Wales’s Charity Fund have seen little or no progress.
Contrary to popular belief, not all the people are poverty stricken. A flourishing leather industry which hand crafts leather items which are then sold to the city boutiques. The skilled workers also supply some of the established fashion labels designer apparel and accessories at throwaway prices.
Located in the heart of Mumbai, Dharavi is a 174 hectare triangular stretch of land that houses 1 lakh families. Its 5 lakh slumdwellers, all migrants, churn out leather goods, ceramic products, readymade garments and a variety of food products — all amassing a GDP of Rs 3,000 crore a year.
Every day, about 50 tonnes of chakli, 10 tons of banana wafers, 100 tons of chivda, 1 tonne of panipuri and 20 tonnes of chikki are produced in over 1,000 match-box sized units.