From this morning's tragic article in the Guardian, "Death toll rises following collapse of building in Mumbai:"
The death toll from a collapsed building in India's financial centre Mumbai has risen to 72, as an injured woman trapped for 36 hours was freed from the rubble. About 100 rescue workers from the national disaster relief agency continue to search through the wreck of the seven-storey building, using cranes, bulldozers and jackhammers to cut through the twisted metal and concrete. "The building collapsed like a pack of cards within three to four seconds," Ramlal, a resident, told Reuters. "It just tilted a bit and collapsed," he said. Residents said labourers paying rent of around £3.28 ($5) a day lived in the building...
Unauthorised constructions are a product of unavailability of affordable housing," said Lalit Kumar Jain, president of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India. A sharp rise in property prices in densely populated Mumbai over the past five years has put housing out of reach for tens of thousands of lower earners, many of whom moved to the city in search of jobs, and now sleep on the streets or in slums. In 2012, India's urban housing shortage was estimated at nearly 19m homes according to a report by the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation.For a novel about Mumbai's sharp rise in property prices, try Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga (author of The White Tiger):
A tale of one man refusing to leave his home in the face of property development. Tower A is a relic from a co-operative housing society established in the 1950s. When a property developer offers to buy out the residents for eye-watering sums, the principled yet arrogant teacher is the only one to refuse the offer, determined not to surrender his sentimental attachment to his home and his right to live in it, in the name of greed. His neighbours gradually relinquish any similar qualms they might have and, in a typically blunt satirical premise take matters into their own hands, determined to seize their slice of the new Mumbai as it transforms from stinky slum to silvery skyscrapers at dizzying, almost gravity-defying speed.