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Housing

The Long Shadow of Mumbai's Mushrooming Highrises

In the scramble to grow, builders have cut corners—harming residents and the future of the city.
A view of the Campa Cola compound and other highrises in the Worli section of South Mumbai.
A view of the Campa Cola compound and other highrises in the Worli section of South Mumbai. Mrinal Desai / Courtesy NFB

Nandini Mehta and her husband raised their family in an apartment in the Campa Cola compound in South Mumbai’s Worli neighborhood. He bought the place in 1988, and she moved in with him in 1992 after their marriage. Two daughters, now in their late teens, were born and grew up there. But in 2005 the Mehtas realized their home was in jeopardy.

That year, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation ordered the demolition of roughly 100 apartments in the compound where the Mehtas lived. Turns out there were legal inconsistencies in the way the seven buildings that made up the compound had been constructed. The builders had made more floors than were sanctioned by the BMC, and although the corporation had pointed out these problems, it hadn’t stopped the construction.