The Mumbai Esplanade project that would five pedestrian plazas connecting three maidans — Azad, Cross and Oval — in south Mumbai has received thumbs-up from environment experts in the city.
The project, a model of which will be on display at Horniman Circle garden from Friday for three days, will create 51-acre open space, in addition to the existing 102 acres in south Mumbai.
The Hindustan Times had reported on the project on November 16. The project plan that is expected to ‘transform Mumbai’ is under consideration of the state government empowered committee.
Narinder Nayar, chairman, Mumbai First and member of the government’s committee on city’s makeover, said: “For seven years, the government has been thinking of ways to convert Mumbai into an international city. The earlier proposals comprised huge tunnels, which were impractical. This project is more feasible as green spaces are being created at a financially sustainable cost.”
“The project, with an estimated cost of Rs492 crore, can be carried out using the public private partnership model,” said Brinda Somaya, managing director, Somaya and Kalappa consultants, who has worked on the project.
“When the work begins, slots for hawkers and other shops that exist on the roads will be demarcated. We have worked out a possibility of creating underground spaces that could be used for parking or public galleries. Many banks are interested in funding the project,” Somaya said.
The project is also being supported by environmentalists who are fiercely protective of the maidans in Mumbai. “We are supporting it because it would create open space without touching the maidans,” said Nayana Kathpalia, an open space crusader.
Cyrus Guzder, a leading industrialist and ardent conservationist, has also come out in support for the project. “It does not endanger the heritage of the area. Using an underpass for cars and buses too seems realistic,” Guzder said.
Though transport expert Ashok Datar appreciated the project, he said that there should be more clarity on the plan for traffic management and re-routing.