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The changing face of Mumbai

One of the things that never changes about Mumbai is that everywhere you turn, you will see evidence of construction.

With the boom in Indian property, even far-flung suburbs have not been spared. In fact, the definition of ‘suburb’ itself has new dimensions. As the city expands further to the north, for some of us Gujarat is closer than South Mumbai.

On this trip, the frenzy was apparent. Every vacant space on the horizon had a crane or scaffolding. The marsh at Malad is now a thriving office complex. Mercifully, the road digging was at a minimum in October – perhaps the contracts for re-digging are still being processed. The completion of the link road (running parallel to SV Road) at Borivali means that one can now make the journey to Malad in under 20 minutes on a good day. The roads are wide and even (for now). Here’s a warning, though. Stay away from the Malad (In Orbit stretch) during peak working hours and shopping hours (afternoon – late evening). It will take you an average of 20 minutes to cross one set of traffic signal. Maybe In Orbit should consider bussing people from nearby stations instead…

The BandraWorli sealink is still inching forward. What surprised me most was the complete disappearance of the hutments outside Mahim station. I had not believed this possible. Years of watching early morning demolitions outside the historic Reay Road station (on my way to work) had convinced me that this was just a stunt. Because the next morning, twenty-four hours later, the shanties were back, television and phone line intact.

Seeing the pavements outside Mahim station was wonderful. I feel sorry for the people who lived outside – but it’s about time that taxpayers of the city got their money’s worth. It must be a relief for residents not to have to deal with the stink, the sight of beggars and prostitutes at every turn.

Will this last? Let me know if you see any different.

More on Reay Road here.

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