Booming Bombay | Issues & Themes | CED-BCPT Dossier


 The Changing Face of Mumbai

Commercial signboards and hoardings are acquiring a stronger visual identity than the heritage buildings. Visual coherence and architectural intergrity become victims of forces of direct marketing and advertising for short term commercial gains. -Lambah, Abha Narain, "Signs of the Times", The Indian Express, Mumbai, 08 February2000. [C.J20.080200IE]..

Only three centuries ago, nothing but the sea and a few Koli boats would have disturbed the landscape. Fifty years later, a Castle, Fort, Church and Wharfs appear. Another 50 years on, a growing native town sprawls to the north of the Fort ( current day..Dharavi?).

Fifty years later still, enter the railway lines, down come the Fort walls, and the town transforms itself into an expression of mercantile success. The last 50 years see a hugh city welded togther through reclamation and a transition to the new Indian owners. Guzder, Cyrus, " The Fabric and the Soul", Seminar, New Delhi, 01 March 1991. [J.01MAR91SEM].

Other cities suffer natural calamities. Bombay's misfortunes are entirely manmade.. It was the development of Backbay and the growth of the concrete jungle at Cuffe parade and Nariman Point that made a mockery of all planned development in the city and altered its culture. The paradox of Bombay's dilemma is that the two factors responsible for its growth and success are also the factors responsible for the disaster that looms over the future - migration and reclamation. Veena Singhal, 'Bombay � Then and Now', Bombay on the Brink, The Indian Express, Mumbai, February 1987. [C.J06.010287IE].

Different strokes

It is a city that projects and protects its cosmopolitan physical heritage while at the same time falling in with political demands by parties like the Shiv Sena, which emphasise its location within Maharashtra. A vision of a city caught between so many contenders � the industrialist and the worker, the son of the soil and the world citizen, the elite and the poor � all claiming its citizenship must necessarily integrate their needs.
anything like a long-term plan for a city like Mumbai is virtually a pipedream as the men and women who are asked to make the decisions worry about the next election and the men and women assigned the task of implementing any plan await the will of their impermanent and changing political bosses. There is simply no way to transform this system of governance into one that resembles that used in the corporate world. Sharma, Kalpana, "Can Mumbai become Shanghai?", The Hindu, Madras, 11 October 2003. [C.J06.111003H]. /eldoc/j06_/11oct03h2.html

Business and talent are no longer attracted to Mumbai. More than anything else, the extreme parochial philosophy of the Shiv Sena has contributed to the decline and decay of Mumbai. Aditya Chatterjee, "Bombay Dreams - Nightmare Scenario for the Future", The Times of India, Mumbai, 11 October 2002. [C.J06.111002TOI].

Bombay has become one big bazaar and everything in it is up for sale. Though most city dwellers would at the most be third generation city borns, there is no desire to know or understand the problems and difficulties of rural society. Instead there is an impatience, a barely concealed exasperation with these poor, who are always with us ever ready to drag us and slow us down. .. there are the professionals who bear a special responsibility for the decline and decay of India's social norms, the doctors, lawyers, accountants, journalists, architects and that special breed -- the ad men, the purveyors of dreams and the creators of desires, the manipulators of market fantasies. Not long ago, it was the professional who was the role model for our society, but now he has - by and large - joined the rat race with a vengeance� Veena Singhal, 'Bombay � Then and Now', Bombay's Changing Society, The Indian Express, Mumbai, February 1987. [C.J06.010287IE]

And now a VISION BOMBAY by Mckinsey.

The audit firm estimates that the government has to spent only Rs 1,500 crore a year over the next 10 years to transform Mumbai into a world class city by 2013. And this can be raised through property tax collections, increase in water user charges, redirecting fuel cess, increase stamp duty collections through reduction in duty rates and new development, improving contracting procedures, reduce administrative expenditure, convert leasehold land to freehold and utilise other government land assets. According to the report, of the total investment of Rs 2,00,000 crore, around Rs 1,00,000-1,50,000 crore will come through private investments in housing, power, telecom and other investments in manufacturing. Abraham, Renni, " Rs 1500 crore a year for Mumbai makeover", 06 November 2003. [C.J06.061103 ].

The question remains.. after paying such high taxes, we still have to pay our utilities bills which as per this new vision will be in private hands. What will happen to those who cannot pay these bills?

The report also provides for increasing the floor space index to high levels for development of large blocks. These would be highly profitable opportunities for large builders. Will it be the vision of private developers, who are pushing for increasing the floor space index (FSI) so they can build taller towers, or the vision of the common man, who is suffering because of a crumbling civic infrastructure Aggrawal , Yogi , " A map to save the metro, but...", The Indian Express, Mumbai, 22 October 2003. [C.J06.221002IE ]

Will it be the vision of private developers, who are pushing for increasing the floor space index (FSI) so they can build taller towers, or the vision of the common man, who is suffering because of a crumbling civic infrastructure. Bharucha, Nauzer, " Will going vertical weigh city down?", Times of India, Mumbai, 20 October 2003. [C.J06.201003TOI ]

With the manufacturing sector making way for the service sector over the last few years, Mumbai's in the process of re-inventing itself and given the city's complex problems of population and space, this reinvention will be rather messy and long-drawn out. Sectors like Dharavi, indeed the thriving informal 'bazaar' sectors that snake through the city, must be included in the urban planning process. "This issue was raised in the Marg film, One City Two Worlds (William Tim). .. Times News Network, "Mumbai's re-invention could be a messy, long-drawn affair", The Times of India, Mumbai, 24 February 2002. [C.J06.240202TOI] j06_/24feb02toi1.htm

A labourer's eight hours of work is useful for economic growth and development, but his needs for housing, public transport, water supply and other civic amenities for the remaining sixteen hours become urban problems. The politician finds shelter to be an ideal "ploy"for garnering votes, The builder equally finds the need for shelter to be an ideal business indeed a super-profit industry. Stanley C. Karkada, The Urban Crisis: The Role of NGOs, chapter in David, M. D. (ed), 'Urban Explosion of Mumbai: Restructuring of Growth', Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai, April 1996, (C.J06),  /eldoc/urban_issues/uu1_M003.html

Parvati, who does Jhadu-Pocha-Bartan for 200 rupees a day, is after all a servant. The rest is of no concern to those who pay her. (They ( We) will not pay enough for people to afford decent housing. What is intolerable is to say that they are criminals who have dirtied Bombay. The rich are adept at rationalising the injustice they do. To get servants on that salary, you must have slums. Jeremy Seabrook, The city, our stepmother - ten years in the life of a slum community. New Internationalist No 290. May 1997. [C.J06-IV.

Post independence, the vast industrial expansion and growth of business function was accompanied by surging waves of immigrant population from far and near. The rapidly fusing amalgam of the Bombay metropolitan region has turned out to be one of the biggest urban complexes of the nation, comparable to many of the leading western conurbations; By 1900, there were 136 textile units. Bombay became the Manchester of the East, employing nearly a lakh of workers, largely drawn from the districts of Konkan and Satara. -- Misra, R.P. (Ed)"Historical Background (of Mumbai)" Chapter in 'Million Cities of India', Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1978, [C.J06 : /eldoc/urban_issues/uu1_M001.html ]

Nigel, Harris ,"The Origins", in 'Economic Development, Cities and Planning: The Case of Bombay, Oxford University Press, New York, 1980. [C.J06 : /eldoc/urban_issues/uu1_M002.html ]
The article outlines the merging economy of Bombay from 1661 to early twentieth century.

The land reclamation projects were intended to provide room for Bombay's commercial and residential expansion... The reclamation, docks and railway projects were more ambitious. They constituted three fundamental steps taken by the colonial rulers to extend and thereby consolidate Bombay's function as a city...-- Dossal, Mariam, "Imperial Designs and Indian Realities: The Planning of Bombay City, 1845-1875", Oxford University Press, Mumbai. Pg. 34-39, 40-45, 148-191, 1991. [B.J06.D.1].

Planning & Demographics

Bombay. Chapter in Metropolitan Management - The Asian Experience by K C Sivaramankrishna and Leslie Green, Economic Development Institute of the World Bank (OUP), 1986. pp 119-139.
[C.J06.010186]. Growth, Metropolitan problems, structure of Government, Fiscal Situation, pending issues of Bandra Kurla Complex, New Bombay Development, low tax revenues.

(Take marked portions from page 11 & 12. ) -Sita, K. and Phadke, V.S., " Intra-Urban Variations in Population Distribution and Growth in Greater Bombay, 1971-81", Urban India, March 1984. p. 3-12. [C.J06.010384].

'Bombay Metropolitan Region' Section in Urban Environment Maps, National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, p. 32. [R.J06.27]. Collection of different maps like wardwise population density, wardwise slum population (1991) etc.

Citizen's action

Citizens Initiative Groups to be organised that can begin to voice People's Concerns through forums at which decision-makers, whether in the legislature or in the administration, can be pressurised to match their words with deeds. - Stanley C Karkada, , "The Urban Crisis: The Role of NGOs", in 'Urban Explosion of Mumbai: Restructuring of Growth edited by David, M. D. ', Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai, April 1996. [C.J06] /eldoc/urban_issues/uu1_M003.html.

Rahmen Jacob Charikar, better known better as babuji, this retired Central government employee is a local favourite, ever since he transformed Worli Hill Road from a stinking mound of garbage and filth into a spotless stretch, with lush plants swaying along the edges. Fernandes, Snehal, " A green revolution", The Indian Express, Mumbai, 06 November 2003. [C.J06.061103IE]./eldoc/j06_/06nov03ie3.html


List of Books & Reports on Mumbai


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