What could be worse for Mumbai that the Constitutional care-taker was unable or unwilling to put the entire might of the State against those who threaten, bully and disrupt?
The latest delimitation of municipal wards, in which boundaries were redrawn to match population, confirmed that Mumbai was becoming more suburban — there were seven fewer wards in the island city
There are Palghars within Mumbai too – slums, homeless communities, neglected old settlements where malnutrition is severe but barely gets attention
The discrimination that home owners and real estate brokers have been practising is a great deal more subtle and covert
It is for social and political leaders to build public opinion and evolve a collectively acceptable code over public celebration of festivals without creating nuisance, writes Smruti Koppikar
In rain or shine, on festivals and public holidays, traffic cops are out there in the grime and dust, bravely trying to bring order to the chaos on the streets and nab offenders
Vegetarian vigilantism is not new to this city. Read along with the beef ban that was imposed, this gradual “othering” of the non-vegetarian whether Hindu or Muslim or any other is the Malabar Hill model of militant vegetarianism
Girangaon or the old textile mill area in central Mumbai is a text book case of gradual but certain gentrification which began about 20 years ago.
Two minutes is an age in the life of Mumbai’s railway commuter. And twenty minutes looks like eternity – or a catastrophe in the case of delays.
The concept of integrating it into a common metropolitan region is more than 40 years old but the idea of planned and sustainable development across it was not a priority for state governments
The urban monsoon stories this year have come from Gurgaon or Gurugram in the north of India and Bengaluru in the south. There are lessons to be drawn from both these cities’ experiences.
The story of the protest march, the grievances of the protestors, the resolve of thousands to engage in an activity not as convenient as strolling down the aisles of a mall, the use of public space by people who demand their rights, all become secondary to the story of how traffic was held up due to the protest march
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for a blueprint from the union urban development department for cities to mandatorily have directly elected mayors, news reports said this week.
As the Smart Cities Mission juggernaut rolls on, the questions may longer be about why some roads always develop potholes, why some areas are garbage dumps, and why we cannot get these basic urban services right
Ambedkar and the Hindu right-wing organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Mahasabha nursed a deep animosity and disgust towards the other
However ill-informed or misguided the Bexit vote, it exposed an economic divide. The trickle-down effects of the global finance and services economy don’t trickle down, after all. If Mumbai’s future growth is based on this template, it is time to wake up
The latest scam to unfold, the roads scam that could be worth Rs 340 crore or more, then joins a long list of corruption scandals in the BMC
It is an open secret that corruption is a well-established way of life in the grimy, unresponsive and over-staffed BMC
It is assumed that Mumbai with its dense layouts and lack of space (this is an enduring myth) is ill-suited to have walkways or pedestrian-only streets
Without a cohesive party unit led by a unifying and visionary leader, the congress cannot even respond adequately to a single issue
The revised DP offers something different in a few areas. It proposes that the limits laid down under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) II be lifted and areas that fall within 500 metres of the city’s coastline be developed
The urban poor, who live a life of poverty with an eviscerating lack of choice in their lives, do not have time to discuss their poverty; they spend their time searching for ways to alleviate themselves from the miserable condition.
It is open season between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. The sniping between the two allies at the Centre and state gained momentum in the last few weeks as both parties got into election mode for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Kirit Somaiya, BJP MP and trouble-maker, has fired the latest salvo this week.
BJP and Shiv Sena need to invoke Mrinaltai’s name in their quest for power in the BMC
When the worst drought in decades and severe water scarcity is upon us, will migration to cities be far behind?
The governments of the day, both at the Centre and in Maharashtra, will pay cynical obeisance to Dr Bhimrao R Ambedkar on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary on April 14
In the face of severe and unprecedented water crisis across Maharashtra, most acutely felt in the arid eight districts of Marathwada, Mumbai still receives nearly 85% of the water that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation says it needs
Mumbai is not a city for pedestrians , certainly not for those who must use the suburban railway stations. There is no space for pedestrians here. The entry-exit points to a station tend to be clogged with haphazard parking of taxis and autorickshaws, tens of hawkers hogging nearly half of the road, and do not always have pavements or sidewalks.
The Aarey Colony may well be the next decade’s Bandra-Kurla Complex, a potential high-value area if it can be opened up for “development”, a convenient euphemism for construction
Illegal and unauthorised construction, mostly of residential buildings, has been the bane of urban Maharashtra for decades
Hardly 16% of the city’s women are in the formal workforce, according to Census Survey 2011 data
Students from an array of institutes gathered once again in the Kalina campus of the University last week to protest the series of events in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi
Neither the prime minister nor the delegates will be taken around Chembur, Deonar, Bainganwadi and other localities that lie on the Kurla side behind the swank Bandra Kurla Complex. This is a part of the underbelly of Mumbai
Tikekar, who passed away on Tuesday morning was not the archetypal scholar, ensconced in an ivory tower writing tomes that lay unread
The completion of 2015 marked 20 years of the city’s slum redevelopment programme that was supposed to make Mumbai slum-free
Cities as hubs of cultural and creative industries that run into trillions of dollars worldwide, and how these industries impact the attractiveness or liveability of cities
In Mumbai, where designated open spaces within buildings are sold off to buyers under new configurations, creating large green spaces would call for a change of heart from the developers’ lobby
The analogy and choice of words such as “concubine” in the party’s newspaper Saamna are condemnable
For the two decades that climate change has been around in popular lexicon, the phenomenon has consumed environmentalists and a section of scientists
Cities are experimenting with ways to reduce the number of cars on their streets in a meaningful manner — not merely as a Sunday-morning-leisure pursuit — to discourage ownership and use of cars that clog city’s streets
In essence, the new policy has it that citizens, average neighbourhood groups and voluntary organisations of citizens will not have a say in the use and maintenance of recreation grounds and play grounds – RGs and PGs in official jargon
Romila Thapar spoke on “Indian Society and The Secular” with her usual depth and verve, and then engaged the audience in a question-answer session, her grace and good humour coming through to the packed hall
The driver’s knowledge of the city and driving skills, more than of Marathi, would help improve this vital line of city’s transport.
In such a fractured cityscape, no political voice speaks for all of Mumbai. The grandest metro and road cannot link a fissured society.
It’s the season of madness in Mumbai. But it’s more than a beef ban here and a meat ban there though the bans are a part of the madness.
If there’s a pattern to the pre-meditated cold-blooded murder of genial old men of scholarship, whose ‘crime’ in the eyes of their murderers and murder-masterminds was that they questioned the orthodoxy, charlatans and exploitative religious beliefs, then there is a pattern to the murder investigations too.
At street corners, in slums, in the few available maidans, young boys and men meet these days to practise their moves for Dahi Handi.
Jagannath Shankar Sheth has a statue, a school, a street and a chowk dedicated to him. Now, he will also have a memorial.
As events unfolded, Mumbai’s peace did not break. More appropriately, Mumbai police made sure that peace would prevail.
The pursuit of justice in these two events for the last 22 years has been highly selective. Yakub Memon’s case – especially his impending walk to the gallows should he walk it – is but a signifier of this selectivity.
Aditya Thackeray could help us by finding a new metier of urban development or ensuring that the BMC does its job, which is not merely re-installing his friend’s gym in a heritage precinct.
The order of the Bombay high court on March 13 this year is unambiguous. It calls for a policy to be evolved on erecting pandals on public roads and pavements, and a complaints redressal mechanism to report violations.
The annual Mumbai rant is back. Along with the monsoon, potholes on our roads are amidst us in plenty.
The pictures of the flooded city last Friday were not new, especially those of central Mumbai where rain water stirred with filth and garbage reached waist-level.
What will it take for planner-politicians to realise that transport problems of Mumbai cannot be resolved unless they have been sorted out for places such as Nalasopara, Virar, Kalyan, Dombivli, indeed the entire MMR?
Mumbai’s western shoreline is all set to change with the coastal road project now in the fast lane.
Today, June 3, marks a year since Gopinath Munde died in a car accident in Delhi triggering a renewed debate around the defunct Road Transport Safety Bill that has been pending Parliament approval since 2001. As a tribute to Munde, surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari, had said that it would be “passed in a month”.
In the myriad discussions on urbanisation and, more lately, smart cities or smart localities within cities, an issue that governments rarely bring to the table is that of ecological biodiversity. Cities are seen as concrete jungles and constructed environments with little or no space for bio-diversity. Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth. The range of biological diversity in Mumbai would surprise many.
Hospitals, both public and private, are among the workplaces with higher incidences of sexual harassment.
Smart Cities, and Smart BKC, will have to put people at the heart of the endeavour, not in a tokenistic but in a meaningful manner. Only then will BKC perhaps find its soul.
What is the assurance that its replacement, which Fadnavis wants ready in the next four months, will be an exemplary plan and address all the lacunae that riddled this DP?
When the Siddhartha Vihar Hostel in Wadala was brought down, floor by floor, in early February by the BMC, a piece of Mumbai’s history associated with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was obliterated.
The draft Development Plan 2014-34 (DP) has been slammed for its build-more Floor Space Index regime, reduction in open and green spaces, exclusion of heritage sites and structures and so on.
The proposed DP sends out signals that neither heritage nor its conservation matter to the planners now rushing to cast the city as an international finance centre. Erasing Mumbai’s past is not the way to build its future.
Tilak’s words on drought-famine are a grim reminder of the real tasks that lie ahead. But it is easier to rename Chowpatty.
Dharaviites are completely within their rights to be offended. Most of them no longer care about what the world outside the slum thinks of them, but when the municipal commissioner of the city says “Dharavi” in a derogatory way, it must rankle.
Listening to the Thackeray cousins thunder about the declining status of Maharashtrians in Mumbai feels retro in thought, spirit and language.
On every parameter, Shanghai trumps Mumbai. It requires political will to create spaces and include them into the larger vision for the city.
It is hard to peruse Mumbai's proposed Development Plan 2014-34 and not wonder at the short-sightedness of those responsible for it.
Mumbaiites have been invited to send in their objections and suggestions on the development plan (DP), but it is anybody’s guess if these will be received with a modicum of gravity and purpose.
Now that the coastal road is poised to become the symbolic project of the Devendra Fadnavis’ government, it is appropriate to take a closer look.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis wants to transform not only the city, but also the larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in a short time and in a manner that bears his signature over it.
Planners must go beyond such beliefs to imagine integration and inclusiveness as they plan for Mumbai. To not do so would be foolish, writes Smruti Koppikar.
Traffic snarls, slow and sub-optimal speeds of vehicles, grid-locked junctions and road rage incidents are now common among commuters in Mumbai.
That Mumbai sorely needs a different and better governance structure with a powerful elected official is beyond debate. Fadnavis must start walking the talk.
Women’s safety cannot be only about stringent laws, their time-bound implementation, enhanced policing, plugging the gaps in the criminal justice system. It must necessarily address values, beliefs and notions that men hold.
If Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis can ensure participatory planning, not mere public hearings, his model could deliver results, writes Smruti Koppikar.
A slum-free Mumbai, anyone? CM re-kindled the decades-old debate on Monday about slums in the city when he directed the SRA to initiate the process of law to acquire thousands of acres of private land that house slum tenements.
It is that time of the year again when we commemorate the 26/11 terror attack, more correctly the 60-hour siege in south Mumbai, and ask ourselves: is the city more secure today than it was six years ago? No, of course it is not.
Fadnavis may want to read the paper and many others of its kind that focus on redevelopment which goes well beyond the reduced version of buildings and carriageways, writes Smruti Koppikar.
The Shiv Sena is barely 18 months away from celebrating its 50th year of existence but its agenda is still a conspicuous throwback to the past: politics driven by the Marathi manoos’ identity.
Right on the top of CM Fadnavis' agenda would have to be developing Mumbai city and the Mumbai Metropolitan region, the centrepiece of the first ever BJP government in the state, writes Smruti Koppikar.
The Mumbai makeover plan itself badly needs a makeover. In bowing to it, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has lost a chance. So has the city, writes Smruti Koppikar.
Fadnavis was chosen by the PM and the BJP president and the BJP’s MLAs only went through the motion of ‘electing’ him. Thanks to such solid support, the chief minister will enjoy the unstinted support of his partymen.
The verdict of 2014 will be remembered for, among other things, the BJP’s haul of 14 of the 36 seats in the city. It rivals the Shiv Sena’s tally of 15 but its import is beyond what the numbers show, writes Smruti Koppikar.
Post-poll alliances will re-draw established political lines. The Congress saved itself from a total rout but just about, writes Smruti Koppikar.
The pavement outside the iconic Suleiman Usman Bakery, Mohammed Ali Road, is choc-a-bloc with devotees of its baked goodies after the Friday namaz at the mosque nearby. It’s the Friday before votes are cast for an Assembly election of far-reaching significance. The conversations veer towards the political.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has said that he would want the party to lead the next Maharashtra government or occupy the opposition benches, but not form post-poll alliances with any other party."If we are not the single largest party, we'll use the next few years to spread the NCP," the former Union minister said in an interview to Hindustan Times.
The decision was a key part of the BJP’s strategy to win a majority on its terms in the upcoming assembly election with Modi campaigning in traditional strongholds of important state leaders, party sources said.
Taking a cue from the BJP which successfully used social media platforms in the LS polls earlier this year, the Sena has taken to these platforms to intensify its campaign and hit at its former ally.
A straw poll that I conducted in the past week in a middle-class housing society, a college class, suburban trains, rickshaw queues and a slum showed what citizens expect of their MLAs, writes Smruti Koppikar.
The battle for Maharashtra assembly has turned into a fight for supremacy between two states- Maharashtra and Gujarat, writes Smruti Koppikar.
Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC and intrepid campaigner, is known for her study of women’s issues and consistent activism for gender justice. She talks about continuing low representation of women in the electoral field
With 74 women contestants from the four major parties in the fray for the upcoming Assembly polls, it seems a happy break from the past three elections when the average number was 25-35. However, it’s only a perceptible rise rather than a real increase.
The middle class vote, always a difficult one to woo and win in an election, may be split along community lines in the forthcoming assembly election.
This election is less about parties and alliances; more a chief ministerial one, in the mould of the general election that had been turned into a prime ministerial one.
In addition to the parties that traditionally appealed to the ‘Marathi manoos’, the Shiv Sena and more lately, the MNS, other parties have jumped on to the bandwagon in this assembly election.
The politicisation of the ‘Marathi Manoos’ issue that the Shiv Sena, and more lately the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, have done has meant that other aspects of the Marathi or Maharashtrian identity got suppressed or fell by the wayside.