Articles by Hepzi Anthony

Hepzi Anthony is an independent journalist based in Mumbai, who writes about issues of public policy, urban development, planning and environment. Passionate about Mumbai and its people, she tweets from hepzia and shares her views on her LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. https://hepzianthony.contently.com/

The elderly population in India is rapidly rising with those above 60 years of age set to constitute 15% of the population by 2036 (22.7 crore), according to the India Ageing Report-2023 released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). From constituting about 10.5% (14.9 crore) of the population in 2022, the population of senior citizens is likely to increase to 20% in 2050 (34.7 crore), thus throwing up new challenges related to their safety, well-being and health. The report also stressed on the need to focus on policies and programmes to meet the needs of the elderly, especially older…

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The elderly population in India is rapidly rising with those above 60 years of age set to constitute 15% of the population by 2036 (22.7 crore), according to the India Ageing Report-2023 released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). From constituting about 10.5% (14.9 crore) of the population in 2022, the population of senior citizens is likely to increase to 20% in 2050 (34.7 crore), thus throwing up new challenges related to their safety, well-being and health. The report also stressed on the need to focus policies and programmes on the needs of older women since they were estimated…

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Keeping the slum dwellers at the core of its planning, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme was initially conceptualised way back in 1995. With about half the Mumbai's population living in informal settlements, the SRA scheme is critical for ensuring better quality housing for all Mumbaikars. The city has about 2149 SRA projects, involving 5,29,434 proposed tenements and 2,49,887 tenements already handed over to people. As we saw in the first part of this series, the buildings are poorly maintained and affecting the not just quality of life but also causing extreme stress to the residents due to various issues.…

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At the entrance of the Jankalyan Society at Dahisar, near the lift, a blackboard asks residents to clear their pending maintenance charges. Signed by the building's Mahila Mandal Sudhar Samiti (MMSS) or resident women's group, the note also urges residents that they would be able to offer better services to residents if maintenance dues are paid on time.  Though a number of garbage bins lie below their building, the provisional committee members of the Society are convinced that their building is cleaner and better maintained compared to other buildings provided by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) Mumbai. Even so, at…

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More than 2400 families from tenements of BDD chawls, have shifted to transit camps over the past year. This is less than half of the number of 5104 tenements meant to be relocated in the Phase-I of the relocation process. While many families from over 16,000 houses will be relocated as part of the BDD redevelopment project, some might opt for rental accommodation on their, and some will shift to their own redeveloped houses as they get ready. If the scale of the project is not overwhelming enough, the initial experiences of residents at transit camps have added to the…

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The redevelopment of the historic Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls in Central Mumbai has been in the news for the longest time. But it is finally underway and will be one of the biggest relocation and redevelopment exercises in the city. The cluster of buildings has over 16,000 families in 195 chawls spread over 86.98 acres. Despite the promises and plans of much bigger and better houses, an atmosphere of anxiety and nervousness pervades among BDD residents, who are worried that things are not shaping up as promised. Their anxiety stems from a wide range of concerns from complaints of…

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The system of sharing autorickshaw rides with unknown fellow passengers travelling on the same route, may seem a win-win solution for citizens, as they're convenient, quick and pocket-friendly; and also for auto drivers as they get good money. But it does not always work so smoothly.  Many shared auto stands are run illegally, especially near suburban railway stations. The auto drivers overcharge the commuters and as many as four to five passengers, when only three are allowed. With metered autorickshaws refusing to ply on those routes, commuters do not have much choice.  An estimated 2.5 lakh autorickshaws ply in suburban…

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Monsoon is a difficult time for the residents of Hanuman Nagar, especially those residing along the banks of the Poisar river. Officially, it may be the river, but practically it is a nullah or a storm water drain, which carries household garbage and even sewage waste.   As the rains intensify, the residents brace themselves for tough times. "It can flood anytime and we may not have enough time to save our belongings, so we start preparing as rains begin. We store our clothes in bundles, so that they can be thrown quickly to our loft to save them from flood…

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In May, Juhu resident Delia Lobo Alva found that many trees in her neighbourhood were getting painted, in a short span of one weekend. But not with the usual white limestone and geru, the natural bug repellants as was the policy decision adopted by the garden department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) earlier. Instead, trees were coloured with bright, garish oil paints that would not come off and would affect the health of the trees. “I was shocked to see about 11 trees painted on the entire stretch. We considered the oil paint off the bark using turpentine but…

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On December 9, 2022, Maharashtra’s chief minister Eknath Shinde inaugurated a Rs 1729 crore beautification drive for Mumbai to spruce up the city to international standards.  With a sizeable amount of funds, people assumed that city infrastructure would be improved with repairs and renovations. However, six months into the process, to their dismay, citizens have witnessed wall paintings, animal installations below flyovers, well-maintained road medians being redone, garish, multi-coloured lights over street lights, paver blocks on footpaths being replaced with cement blocks apart from trees being decorated with electric lights and painted with oil paints.  Cosmetic changes as beautification project…

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