Mumbai First, an initiative of private businesses to transform Mumbai into a world-class city made a presentation of the project to the Empowered Committee last week and the details were thrashed out with chief secretary JK Banthia on Monday. The project will be implemented by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), with Mumbai First providing the detailed landscape and traffic plans. (see box)
"This will create much needed public space for Mumbai to host art and music festivals without any disruption to traffic. The traffic police are on board with the plan as is the BMC. With some landscaping, lighting and signage we can create cultural hub for the city,'' said Narinder Nayar, chairman of Mumbai First and member of Empowered Committee.
The plaza created will be larger than the Gateway of India. The project will require the BMC and BEST to move a few bus stops (including the one outside NGMA), traffic lights and they will have to realign road medians. There is also a plan to create taxi zones with pick-up and drop-off points.
The second phase of the project talks of a 500-car underground parking facility once the traffic diversion is implemented. However, officials said that for the time being the focus would be solely on phase I as underground parking would require shifting of utilities and a host of permissions. "The only big cost is for landscaping which is projected at Rs7.7 crore. It's a feasible project if all agencies work in tandem. But, past experience shows that our implementation is very tardy,'' admitted an official, who is a member of the Empowered Committee.