The Story of Mumbai and Its Mills.

The longest human strike in the history of Mumbai started on January 18th, it could be an ordinary day in the life of many Mumbaikars and many are not aware of the story behind it.

In 1982, The Great Bombay Textile Strike impacted around 250,000 mill workers from 58 textile mills changing the industrial face of Mumbai forever.

Why & where was the strike called?

It was called by the mill workers to seek a salary hike, but neither the government nor the mill owners intervened. Name of the mill unions which started the strike are Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti & Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh. Girgaon, used to refer ‘Mills Village’ location of Central Mumbai (Parel, Byculla, Cotton Green, etc.), was the place from where it started. These areas once had more than 100 mills.

Facts about Mumbai Mills and Chimneys –

  1. First mill in 1854 in Mumbai called ‘Bombay Spinning Mill’ which was famous for producing cotton textiles.
  2. By 1870 there were about 13 mills & by 1875 this number went to 70. Further, it went to 83 by 1915.
  3. In 1920 – About 2.5 lakh mill workers went on strike against ‘Bombay Mill Owner Association’ with their leader ‘Datta Samant’ demanding the wage increase.
  4. 1991 – State Govt. announced Development Control Rule 58, which stated Mill lands could be sold to others with some terms & conditions.
  5. National Textiles Corporation (NTC) one of the huge player who had about 25 mills owned. They started selling their mills to private businesses/developers in 2005.
  6. 2006 – Supreme Court said that sale of mills for corporates & luxurious residential was legal.
  7. 2010 – NTC came with a decision to start again 3 of the mills which will help Mill workers for the living.

Name & locations of these Mills are:

  • Tata Mills at Hindmata
  • India United Mills No. 5 at Kalachowkie
  • Podar Mills at Chinchpokli

In 2016, no smokes in chimneys & remains of few mills are closed. Few developers kept the Chimneys & Structures, which can be seen easily.

After even 34 years their strike has not been called off & the mill workers are facing constant pressure of jobs, housing & waiting for the allotted money that was due from the factory owners.

Nothing has changed even their hopes.


Author: Nirbhik Jangid, Pineapple Consulting


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