Salvaging and scapegoating: Slum evictions on Chennai’s waterways - EPW paper

This document discusses the historical shifts in the governance of urban water and the urban poor in cities, their reflection in the transformed cultural and political imagery of rivers in Chennai.

The paper highlights the case of recent projects that have been planned on the river Cooum in Chennai.

The latest Cooum river restoration project in Chennai aims to focus on slum eviction as an achievable first step. A 19-kilometre elevated expressway is also planned on the river. It has been estimated that these plans together would lead to the displacement of over 18,000 families from the banks of the Cooum.

The document argues that these two projects testify to how waterfront development, beautification, and eco-restoration, along with high-end infrastructure serve multiple purposes, both as direct strategies for capital accumulation through real estate value, as well as idioms through which cities position themselves in the global arena.

India Water Portal thanks the authors for permission to publish this paper.

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