Crown Bakery’s famous wall clock will stop ticking in 2017. After 63 years of service, the iconic Mahim Irani bakery will fall prey to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) Metro Line 3 project.
“Where will I get such a place in all of Mumbai, forget Mahim? We need a space at least as big as the shop. How is it possible for us to get such a space in the city? The space crunch is a big issue, aside from all the permissions we have to seek,” said Farokh Khosravi, co-owner of the bakery.
Opened in 1953 by Khodaram Khosravi, Crown Bakery is spread over 534.19 sqm. Famous for its Brun Maska and Chai in its halcyon days, it has been serving only bakery products for the past nine years.
Mahim residents expressed dismay over the bakery’s closure. “My mother used to buy chicken patties for me when I went to school. I do the same for my kids now,” said Manda Sitap, 40, a Mahim resident staying opposite the bakery. “For the past 30 years, I don’t know what paav (loaf) tastes like at any other place. It has an authentic taste which no machine will ever be able to recreate,” he added.
Those working at the bakery said firewood is used to make bread, and no chemicals are added to the dough to make it fluffier.
“When sahebji (owner) said a Metro station will be built here, I knew this was it. There was no chance for us to say anything,” said Afzal Khan, 20, who manages the counter at the shop. “A shop that did not close down even on the most cruel days such as the Emergency, has to be turned down because of a train,” he said.
Shaun Pinto, another Mahim resident, said he would spend his evenings reading and sipping tea at the restaurant. “As there is no seating arrangement, I take my favourites items — pista biscuits and special shrewsberry naankhatai — and leave. Because of the new state-of-the-art cafes, this place doesn’t seem ‘happening’ to people,” he said.
”We require the Crown Bakery land for the Metro 3 corridor on a permanent basis for the station here. As such, we have given the owner a notice and he has accepted it. Our negotiations are ongoing and hopefully, we will come to a settlement in the next hearing,’’ said R Ramana, executive director, planning, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited, the nodal agency for the Metro 3 fully underground corridor.
The 33.5 kms long corridor will connect Colaba to SEEPZ and is one of the most ambitious projects vis a vis its reach to various business hubs including Nariman Point, BKC and major stations.