Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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In Transit, For Ever

Vacate your flat and you exchange it for a slum-like camp

In Transit, For Ever Atul Loke

It seems simple arithmetic at face value. Nearly 19,500 buildings in Mumbai need repair. MHADA owns as many tenements spread over a dozen transit camps where residents of the dilapidated buildings can be accommodated. But this simple math is a logistical conundrum. Most transit camps, though highly inhospitable, are occupied—some by people evicted years ago from their jerky buildings but mostly by whom MHADA calls "encroachers". It is now busy evicting the latter so that evacuees from dangerous buildings can be accommodated here. Each transit camp, therefore, has a story of its own.

The one at Dahisar is like any other except for an acceptable level of cleanliness and order. Twenty-odd families came here 18 years ago. They were evacuated from Jariwala Building's collapsed 'D' Block. They are still waiting for Jariwala to be rebuilt. Caught between the builder and MHADA, they have no idea when they'll be able to call Jariwala home again. Meanwhile, they have got on with their lives, transferred their children from Mahim to Dahisar schools, ensured water supply. Says Satinder Kaur, "Initial days were very difficult, but now we are okay. Still we would like to return to Jariwala."

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