A casual drive down Mumbai’s iconic Marine Drive, Worli Sea Face, or Haji Ali Road is met with awkward, unfamiliar, twists and turns, framed by blue-green notice boards that proclaim the words, “Mumbai is Upgrading”. Once familiar sights from the silver screen of Bollywood’s box office, today, seem foreign to even the truest of Mumbaikars, who find themselves lost in the diversions and bypasses of roads and alleyways they once knew like the backs of their hands.
As the Maximum City grows ever larger, bursting at the seams with a population that is exponentially denser by the day, our city’s infrastructural projects are jostling to catch up. Previously shelved or delayed projects, that have remained stagnant for the better part of several decades, now rush forward with an unforeseen pace, having been finally given the green light for Mumbai’s redevelopment.
From the Samruddhi Mahamarg to the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, and from the Mumbai Coastal Road, to the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, and Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail, the city’s large infrastructural projects will see the advent of a new Mumbai, virtually unrecognisable when compared to its previous incarnation.
The Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, a proposed 701 km Nagpur-Mumbai super communication Greenfield expressway is targeted at reinforcing the economic and socio-occupational fortune of the state of Maharashtra, by expanding its horizons for trade activism.
The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link is an under-construction 21.8 km freeway-grade road bridge connecting the city of Mumbai with Navi Mumbai, its satellite city. When completed, it would be the longest sea bridge in India, complete with a 6 lane highway.
The Mumbai–Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor is an under-construction high-speed rail line connecting India’s economic hub with the city of Ahmedabad. When completed, it will be India’s first high-speed rail line.
The Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project is a planned industrial development project between India’s capital, and its financial hub. The proposed high-tech industrial zone includes 24 industrial regions, 8 smart cities, 2 international airports, 5 power projects, 2 mass rapid transit systems, and 2 logistical hubs.
The Mumbai Coastal Road is an under-construction 8-lane, 22.2 km long freeway that would run along Mumbai’s western coastline. The Coastal Road is projected to be used by 130,000 vehicles daily, reducing travel time between South Mumbai and the Western Suburbs from 2 hours to 40 minutes.
While it is clear that these proposed projects will propel the nation’s financial hub into a global city, boosting development projects and enhancing socio-economic growth, some would argue that there is more to be lost than gained.
As is often the case with large infrastructural projects, the ushering-in of the new sometimes displaces the old, damaging the intricate environmental and cultural fabric of the City of Dreams. These markers of growth scar the façade of Mumbai, slashing across populated areas, and taking the delicate ecological balance of our few remaining green spaces and threatened coastlines as collateral damage.
From the displacement of ancestral villages to fishing settlements, and from the destruction of flood-preventing mangroves to the damage to flora and fauna along green belts and in coastal waters, legislators have traded delicate financial and natural ecosystems for infrastructural development. With livelihoods and entire species at stake, many of our city’s activist groups have taken to the streets, petitioning and protesting the loss of Mumbai’s character.
However, all hope is not lost.
To offset the damage caused by the accelerated progress of development, the Indian government has taken steps to re-wild troubled areas, by planting more trees and green spaces than have been destroyed. Housing projects for those who have been displaced have begun in earnest, and while circumstances may seem bleak, infrastructural development, historically, paves the road to greater growth.
At SILA, we are optimistic for the Mumbai of tomorrow, but are conscious of the great costs of redevelopment. We hope that our legislators follow through on their promises for ecological rebalancing, and secure a stable future for those who have been adversely affected by the making-over of our city.
SILA is one of Mumbai’s leading facility management companies, that prides itself on delivering excellence in facility management services, turnkey interior contracting and real estate advisory. We currently have operations in over 75 cities, with over 6500 employees and a client base of multiple Fortune 500 companies. Visit our website for more information on our services.
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