According to the United Nations agency, a slum is a Un-habitat which means that it is a run down area in a city which is characterized by the low standard of housing and lack in tenure security. The Indian government has announced that the number of people living in the slum of India has more than doubled in the past two decades and now exceeds the entire population of Britain. The word slum was originally used mainly in the phrase "back slum," meaning a back room and later "back alley. Research has shown that Slum is originated from the Irish phrase “S lom ?” which means exposed vulnerable place. Slums are distinguished from shanty towns and favelas in that the latter initially are low-class settlements, whereas slums are generally constructed early on as respectable, often prestigious communities.(Mukhija, 2003). Skid row is another term which is used for an urban area with a large quantity of homeless population. This term is commonly used on the west coast of the United States. Another word which is used as a different meaning in different parts of the world is Barrio. It is used for upper class area in Spanish speaking countries bue used for low class community in United States. Dharavi is a slum of Mumbai, India which is regarded as the largest slum in Asia. It has been estimated that the 55% of population of Mumbai live in slums (Yohannan, 2004). Not only this, it has been observed that the slum growth rate in Mumbai is greater than the general urban growth rate.
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Today Dharavi consists of 67 single slum areas and some additional settlements between Mumbai’s two main suburban railway lines, the Western and the Central Railway. The characteristics of slum vary from vary from geographic regions but all the people living in slums are usually poor and are not provided with the basic facilities. The situation of slum dwellers of the Mumbai is terrible. Inhabitants of Mumbai slum lack basic standards of livelihood such as sanitary facilities, hygienic conditions and medical care. Research studies show that in November 2006, there was only one toilet per 1,440 residents in Dharavi. Due to the scarcity of toilet facilities, they have to suffer severe health problems. In addition to these problems, the conditions of the inhabitant of slum become worse during the monsoon times when they have to face destruction of their huts by water and mud. A large number of slum dwellers are unemployed. They are suffering from social problems such as crime, drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness and suicide. One of the greatest characteristics of Mumbai slum is that it provides a cheap alternative. Dharavi exports goods around the world. The Mumbai slum never underwent any planning, infrastructure construction or implementation of facilities such as water, sewage, drainage and medical care. The slum dwellers are suffering from high level of poverty. They lack civil rights. They share 300 square feet of floor with 15 humans which is very alarming aspect.
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