Bandra, once a swanky suburb, is no longer populated by just the social elite. As existing slums expand and new ones emerge, the landscape of the suburb has changed drastically in the past decade.
Slums next to the Reclamation flyover and in Gazdar Bandh are growing fast. The Daulat Nagar slum is growing vertically, dotted with two and three storey structures. The slaughter house slum outside the railway station touches the WEH. The gaothans are disappearing.
The constituency has witnessed 21,000 voter registrations, in the four months since Lok Sabha elections. “Most of the voters have been registered from slum pockets,” said an election official.
Locals say that politicians have supported slum dwellers. “Last time, more than 500 slum-dwellings appeared at Daulat Nagar, just a few days before the election. We protested and made the local ward office demolish them,” said Anil Joseph, activist from Perry Road. “This time, they expanded in intervals.”
“There has also been an increase in cases of chain-snatching and robbery. The entire sea-facing stretch is dotted with encroachments. The infrastructure cannot accommodate the rise in population,” said Dereyk Talker, Wake Up Bandra, an NGO.
Anandini Thakoor, a resident, said, “The MLA has increased the slum population, but not services for the people.” The community’s demographics have changed. While 11% of the population is Christians, Muslims account for 20%.