“Mumbai Infra boom similar to that of Manhattan in 19th C”

Projects will transform urban mobility, will bring equilibrium in real estate prices: BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani


Geetanjali Minhas | May 22, 2024 | Mumbai

#BMC   #Mumbai   #Infrastructure   #Urban Governance  

Mumbai’s ongoing infrastructure boom – with a new coastal road, Atal Setu, metro lines and much more – creating transport corridors – is comparable to that of Manhattan in New York during 1811-1870, according to BMC commissioner Bhushan Gagrani. The iconic projects being implemented now will bring in transformation in urban mobility, social economy and culture, he has said.

Speaking at a brainstorming session on ‘Making Mumbai a Liveable, Modern City’, organised by Mumbai Press Club here Tuesday, Gagrani who is completing two months in office said he often wonders what would have happened if infrastructure would not have been created in Mumbai.

He gave the example of Mumbai-Pune Expressway built at the cost of around Rs.3,000 crore and said that the project faced apprehension, opposition, challenges and denials. “However, we tend to take things so much for granted. Not only cost benefit analysis of the project … but in its absence, would Pune city have become one the top IT exports centres of India? It would not have emerged as the IT or automobile hub of India or a research and development centre. Without this project we would have lost huge opportunity of economy.”

Gagrani further said with MTHL (Atal Setu Bridge) and Mumbai Coastal Road projects, the real estate market in the city is slated to bring basic transformation in next 5-10 years, bringing in equilibrium in residential and commercial properties in a big way.

Responding to a question on the BMC’s vision for transportation infrastructure for the common man, Gagrani said that that frantic pace of infrastructure development is driving a myth that all caution is being thrown to the winds.

“Initially, a few projects were targeted toward 10 percent of the society, maybe. However, in the next two years we will be completing almost 300 kms of metro lines which is necessarily a public transport,” he said.

He added that MMRDA and BMC have done transport planning for last mile connectivity.

“As regards water transport, past experiments have been unsuccessful as the east coast has two major ports – JNPT and BPT – which come in the way of liners. However, there is an alternate facility from Bhau Cha Dhaka to Nerul. The west coast, due to its typical terrain is not feasible for running speedboats or catamarans as water transport options. Eventually water transport has to be economically feasible also,” said Gagrani.

Answering another question on BMC not sharing information with the press, the municipal commissioner admitted that the appropriate flow of information on infrastructure projects to the press is lacking and needs corrective action. He said that a post like infrastructure engineer or assistant commissioner infrastructure who is handling projects and data cumulatively does not exist as these are linear working departments. “Sometimes it is challenging to have a single point of information with people working in solid waste department, special projects, water supply, roads etc as a huge number of projects are going on. However, it is our internal challenge how to facilitate that information to the press,” said the municipal commissioner.

He also added that with multiplicity of agencies like MMRDA, BMC, MSTDC , PWD and other state agencies involved in infrastructure projects, there is no single agency controlling flow of information  and same is case with BMC.

RC Sinha (IAS Retd) and architect PK Das were also part of the panel discussions.



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