When the bulldozers come
The Indian Express - 12/06/2013
The impending demolition of the Campa Cola complex is an opportunity to ask why illegal housing is the norm in Mumbai, for the middle class and the poor.
With last month’s Supreme Court order and the impending eviction of 96 families from Worli’s Campa Cola housing complex, Mumbai’s rampant building code violations and nefarious construction practices are back in the national spotlight. The conversation has centred on the need for stricter code enforcement and tit-for-tat squabbles over who knew what when. Less central has been an acknowledgement of the underlying structures of power, inequality and governance that make illegal housing the norm in Mumbai — a situation understood all too well by the urban poor.
This time, the middle class was scrambling to regularise their homes and keep the bulldozers at bay. And because it was this population, living in tony Worli, and not the poor pavement dwellers and slum residents who more typically fight these fights, the city and the nation took notice.