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Mumbai in world’s filthiest top ten

Mumbai, March 6: Stinking rich — that’s Mumbai to the world.

A Forbes survey has rated India’s financial capital as the world’s seventh-most filthy city. The dubious distinction has come with the recognition that it is home to the seventh-highest number of billionaires.

Mumbai is even filthier than war-torn Baghdad but better than Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, which tops the messy roster.

The Forbes list, based on Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s 2007 Health and Sanitation rankings, suggests Delhi needs to wield the broom, too. But at number 24, the national capital poses a lesser challenge to dirt-busters.

Calcutta could pat itself: it doesn’t figure on the list, which ranks the world’s 25 dirtiest cities. However, all four metros, as well as Bangalore, are among the most densely populated cities.

Many in Mumbai had reacted angrily when it was dubbed the world’s rudest a couple of years ago. Now, being swept to the “dirty list” appears like another rude awakening “for a city that never sleeps”.

“It is common for the media in the West to show Mumbai in a bad light. There should have been separate benchmarks. Mumbai is cleaner now than it was in the past,” said R.A. Rajeev, additional commissioner of BMC, which had launched a “Clean Mumbai” drive amid fanfare last September. The BMC is India’s richest civic body, with a budget of Rs 12,866.22 crore.

“Can this place be called the financial capital? Slums greet you when you touch down here,” says ad guru Prahlad Kakkar.

Others believe Mumbai can’t be made squeaky clean at their expense. “They can’t throw us out to make the city shine?” says Sheikh Ataullah, a labourer in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum.

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