Leather & Footwear

Mumbai: Asia’s biggest footwear market forced to stay in unhygienic condition


Mumbai: A residential and commercial area in Chembur named Thakkar Bappa colony, is famous for its huge shoe market, manufactured by the local population. It is also known to be one of the biggest footwear market in Asia, but unfortunately due to negligence of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) who has turned a blind eye to the area, market and people are forced to stay in an unhygienic state. The roads have become the breeding ground for mosquitoes and other diseases due to the narrow, congested lanes occupied by tempos and lorries with open sewerage lines flowing openly.

 This colony was originally a refugee camp that was constructed for people migrating from Pakistan at the time of the partition of India and Pakistan whose main spoken language was Kutchi. At later stage, it saw an entry of other communities, like the Maheshwari Meghwal Samaj people and the other communities who migrated from Rajasthan and other states of India, whose main occupation was shoe manufacturing.

‘The civic corporation is paying no attention to providing basic facilities’ said Dharamraj Mourya, resident and businessman of Thakkar Bappa footwear market. He also said, “Regular fogging should be done. Cleanliness should be maintained but we hardly find any BMC cleaners and sweepers coming here. The shopkeepers keep their shops clean but nallahs and drains also need to be cleaned regularly. However, they (BMC) fail to do their duty and as a result there is always a bad (stinking) smell over here.”

Most of the families residing in Thakkar Bappa colony are suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) diseases, he informed. “Karigaars (workers) are poor, their livelihood is entirely dependent on making leather and other material footwear. Also, as they sit for long hours in the polluted air, making footwear, it is affecting their health adversely,” he added.

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