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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

How innovative use of acres of Port land can dramatically transform Mumbai

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 17, 2014
First Published: 01:09 IST(17/7/2014) | Last Updated: 10:10 IST(17/7/2014)

Imagine an eastern waterfront nearly seven times as long as Marine Drive. That and much more is what our city could get if the Centre’s plan to open to development a large chunk of the 1800 acres the Mumbai Port Trust owns along the 28-km eastern seaboard comes through.

In fact, this is our chance to redefine and renew our space-starved city, providing citizens with much needed open spaces and other public infrastructure, not to mention affordable housing.

Following Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari’s decision to set up a committee to take a decision on the issue, citizens have been invited to send in ideas on what they think should be created on the port land. So do you want theaters, parks, a lovely beach, schools and colleges? This is your chance.

Read: Mumbai gets second chance to transform

For long, Mumbaiites have lamented that the city is just a concrete jungle with none of the facilities that, say, a Delhi has. The opening up of some 600 acres of mill land in late 1990s had offered an opportunity, but it was wasted. Central Mumbai is now just a cluster of exclusive highrises with little support infrastructure.

Now we have another chance.

"The eastern waterfront has always been underestimated and its potential, always untapped. This is probably the only chance we have, at last, to have some sort of planned development of open spaces and amenities for the city in such a huge chunk of land," said architect Nitin Killawala.

“We need an inclusive planning process which seeks to consult each stakeholder while it develops the eastern waterfront. We need to identify the kind of needs that this development seeks to fulfill,” said Dr Sulakshana Mahajan, urban planner with the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU), a state government promoted policy think tank.

The door is open for the Mumbaiite to join the debate.

It's your city. It's your chance. Make yourself heard.

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