In a city bursting at its seams, ruled by how much land you can occupy within it, you would expect the thousands living on the streets without a fixed address to be nameless, faceless, invisible men and women with no basic privileges of citizenship.
But, as the BMC’s enumerators found out on the night of February 28, several of them are people who, in their own little way, make Mumbai tick.
A peon working in a minister’s office, a man selling rudraksh beads on the train, a maid washing dishes in a housing society, a waiter at your local restaurant, a family making bamboo baskets for the last 26 years, are all part of a loosely strung community that spends its life without a roof over its head.
Some of them have voter ID cards, ration cards, PAN cards. Some have children studying in municipal schools. They have a social structure, religious and regional groups, and they use alarm clocks to wake up.
How many they are has so far been unknown, and the BMC in its one-night-only drive that met with success in some parts of the city and not much success in others, is attempting to arrive at a figure, which it says, will help it determine how to ease some of the city’s housing problems.
Source: Mumbai Mirror
Buldhana and UP meet on Borivli road, Mumbai Mirror
Living on two sides of the wall, Mumbai Mirror
A headcount of the homeless, Hindustan Times
‘I’m glad the government has finally noticed us’, Hindustan Times