Dharavi is one of the densest slum areas in the world which was suffering from various problems but now it’s growing slowly in the education sector and industries, because of Krishna Pujari who runs a business Reality Tour. It is a travel company, 80% of the revenue of which he spends for the betterment of Dharavi.
The population of the slum area is about seven lakh. It was founded in 1883 during the British colonial era and grew in part because of an expulsion of factories and residents and also from the migration of poor rural Indians into urban Mumbai. It is currently highly multi-religious, multi-ethnic and has diverse settlements. It has an active informal economy in which numerous household enterprises employ many from the slum. Leather products, textile industry and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi. Dharavi has seen the spread of many epidemics, including a widespread plague. Though a large sum of money has been borrowed by the Indian government in the guise of improving sanitation in the area, none of these have materialized into any development on the ground. But there are people who still work towards bringing a change in the society. Krishna Pujari came from Bangalore to Mumbai in search of work.
He is the son of a farmer and clearly, he had no interest in doing what his father did for years. He worked at a restaurant initially. Simultaneously, he learnt English in order to start a travelling business. He then established it, which helped him in developing the slum region. Reality Tours provide fun and authentic experiences around India.
They are established tour operators based in Mumbai and Delhi. Pujari came to Mumbai in 1993. He started with his early life, he says “People used to laugh at me when I was planning for developing Dharavi. This is really a huge challenge for me, because Dharavi was known for its crime.
Earlier people used to warn me ek bar jaiga toh nikal ni paiga (you can’t come out of the place once you enter). It is really a tough task to start.” “When I entered into slum there was no electricity, the problem of sex racket existed and most of the houses there were illegal. People used to abuse me when I first came here. I stayed at Dharavi for three months to know the problems of the slum and used to spend time with people building a relationship and interacting with them,” he said. Pujari doesn’t aspire to be famous due to his work. Instead, he wants more people to know what he does and get into the execution of the development work. Pujari said that his aim is to help people fulfil their dreams. His policy was to offer jobs to those who weren’t financially strong but to those who were in need of them and passionate about the work. He also trained them. He credited his support staff for the business that he has erected. “Recently, I have helped a girl, who was really in need of a job, but she was not that capable of doing a job in Reality Tour. So we trained her and now she is enjoying her work.” Divya Tripathi is the girl whom Pujari helped. “I was very scared with my situation, but Pujari was my savior. If not for him, I wouldn’t be able to survive in Mumbai,” she said.
Pujari’s aim is to provide quality education. “Politicians are not looking after these slums and are busy in making statues. I want to expand my business into many states and want more people to join my company. I really enjoy my job. We are growing and can make India better. I am a socially responsible person and also proud of my whole organization which believes that we can achieve something.”
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