Slums in Mumbai, scene of the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire, are selling for over £100,000 in a sign of the booming prosperity in India's financial capital.
The 250 dilapidated slums in the shadow of glass and steel office
blocks housing multinational companies are being bought up by property
companies as part of a swathe of redevelopment.
However, the huge increase in property prices means some
slum-dwellers feel short-changed – even when corrugated iron shacks next
to open sewers and the incessant rumble of Mumbai's trains from the
nearby station are selling for 8,000,000 rupees (£102,000).
Abdul Rashid, 58, lived in Bandra Kurla Complex, next to where the
rags-to-riches Danny Boyle film was shot. He accepted a developer's
offer and was able to buy a proper flat in a building in a nearby
"It wasn't enough money though," he insists. "Mumbai is growing at
such a rate that I regret selling when I did. I should've waited and
demanded more money and then I could've got a bigger flat."
Sarah Pravin, 43, from the same slum has stuck her heels in the
ground and stayed. She and her husband and two sons have been one of the
few residents in her area who have refused developer's money.
"I don't want money, I want a new home," she says. "How am I going to
afford a new flat for my family with the money these developers are
offering? I know it sounds a lot of money, but realistically, in a city
like Mumbai, £100,000 isn't."
A huge 496 families lived in the slum in 2008, but today over 350 have been paid an average of £100,000 and left.
But Ms Pravin is among a small minority still waiting and insisting on a home exchange.
"Many of us have watched as bulldozers have moved in to demolish the
surrounding buildings. It's like living on a building site now, and it's
become quite terrifying when the drug dealers move into crumbling
buildings and hide," she said.
"But I will stand my ground. I love this neighbourhood. I've lived
here 16 years. If I have to move to make way for developers and new
buildings then I want a good deal that will help my family's future and
For other former slum-dwellers who have sold up, the payout has
offered them a new life away from the squalor of the railway shacks.
Lubna Mamin, 23, and her husband Imran, along with his parents and
sister, accepted a new apartment for their filthy slum in Bandra East.
Now life could not be better in Bazar Road, Bandra West, in a flat with a private shower and lavatory and a separate kitchen.
She says: "It's so nice to have our own private lavatory and shower.
The security is lovely. We never felt so safe in our old place but now
when we close our door at night we are home, our own home."
Ms Mamin and her husband’s family were set up in rented accommodation
by their developers while the new apartment block was being built. Once
it was completed they exchanged paper work, and the new apartment was
For the developers handing over ten or 15 apartments to slum
families is nothing compared to the profits they made from selling the
remaining 70 apartments at around £200,000 per flat.
Hele Roberts, The Daily Telegraph