The redevelopment agenda

A string of proposed redevelopment projects have been stalled, scrapped, or abandoned mid-way. In 1980s, MHADA carried out a comprehensive survey as the first step towards transforming the entire neighbourhood through an urban renewal proposal but this project was stalled citing financial risks. In 2005, a local private developer expressed his interest in undertaking redevelopment of a large part of Kamathipura.

However, these grand plans were stalled when the real estate market crashed in 2008. In 2016, the Kamathipura Landlords Welfare Association was formed which brought together almost 400 landlords. Their plan was to convert Kamathipura into a township of 24 towers, parks and gardens, wider roads and public amenities. This too fell through due to lack of consensus between landlords and tenants, especially with respect to size of apartments and compensations. In March 2020, the Maharashtra government approved a large scale cluster redevelopment project for Kamathipura although that too has now been stalled due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Redevelopment as rescue

Along with redevelopment, there is a growing clamour among some residents of Kamathipura to remove the sex workers and erase the stigma of being regarded as an immoral and dangerous red light area.

A redevelopment project site in Kamathipura

Kamathi ke upar yeh jagah ka naam hua, aur ab dekho, yeh red light area ke liye jaana jaata hai. Kya yeh theek hai?!

Yahan itna kuch hai, par is jagah ko keval sex workers ka area maana jata hai. Isse hum ‘normal’ mahilaon ko kitna zyaada problem hota hai, chalte phirte problem hota hai.

Hum is jagah ki image ke liye larte rahenge.

Children don't get admission in schools. Everywhere we are told 'Bombay-8' (reference to Kamathipura's PIN code) is not allowed. Girls don't get married into our families because they don't want to come to our homes.

We are blacklisted for loans, credit cards, our children in colleges are told 'Kamathipura? No admission.

Redevelopment can sanitize the locality and help salvage residents' respect.





Nala Sopara