The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has “covered up” some of Mumbai’s slums in a bid to hide the financial capital’s economic inequalities during the G-20 meet that took place in the city last week.
Delegates from 20 countries participated in the first meeting of the Development Working Group (DWG) under India’s G-20 presidency from December 13 to 16.
The civic body put up screens, hoardings and banners with the G-20 meet branding alongside the Western Express Highway, along which the delegates travelled. As a part of a “beautification drive”, the BMC made sure it concealed any view of slums and buildings under construction with expansive green and white sheets. More than 50% of Mumbai’s population lives in slums or cramped housing.
Many of the delegates visited the Kanheri caves in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park as a part of their Mumbai sightseeing programme, and hence the entire stretch of Western Express Highway was spruced up: walls were given a lick of paint and road dividers decorated with potted plants.
The focus of the G-20 meet was to support developing countries in dealing with immediate concerns relating to food, fuel and fertilizer security as well as putting in place collective action plans to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
This is, however, not the first time authorities have tried to hide slums and areas considered unsightly before major international events or visits by foreign dignitaries. An entire wall was erected in Ahmedabad before then U.S. President Donald Trump visited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State in 2020.
Text and photos by Emmanual Yogini
Covered up: A slum near Jogeshwari along the Western Express Highway in Mumbai.
Sights unseen: Signage is used to cut off a view of Bandra slums
Blinkers on: Expansive sheets attempt to hide the ongoing construction work in Santacruz.
Time to play: Children from a slum play in a walledoff area near Khar.
Bridge branding: Delegates to the G20 working group meet get a colourful greeting as sheets are wrapped around ongoing construction work in Santacruz.
Short cut: A giant pipeline in Bandra is poorly concealed.
Life goes on: Women chatting outside their homes near Khar.
Under the carpet: An attempt to hide garbage and a drain in Mumbai.
Great divide: A stretch of the Western Express Highway near Khar.