The policy makers’dreams to make Mumbai another Shanghai may remain unfulfilled.
The present infrastructure and little attempt by the government to improve it, has drawn criticism from Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), an international non-profit organisation.
Antony Wood, CTBUH’s executive director, said that Indian cities were on the path to greater urbanisation, and to cope up with this, critical decisions about infrastructure of cities like Mumbai ought to have been taken some 30-40 years ago.
Asked if Mumbai has the potential to be the next Shanghai, Wood replied in the negative.
“With its present infrastructure and future plans, the city cannot become Shanghai as even the Chinese city has its own problems,” Wood said.
He insisted that high-rise buildings in India could be based on local conditions instead of copying other countries, especially the western world.
“The government has to make a policy for tall structures. But with no facilities like fire-fighting, the authorities lack confidence to define policy on such structures".
Drawing attention towards the large number of shanties in Mumbai, Wood said: “Almost 50 per cent of the city’s population lives in slums and there is no further work being done to enhance public transport.”
According to CTBUH, Mumbai is 25th tallest city – based on high-rises – in the world with 118 tall buildings measuring over 100m.
Mumbai is the only Indian city that finds mention in the list of high rises prepared by CTBUH.
To focus on various infrastructure issues, the Illinois-based CTBUH plans to hold a world conference — India Remaking Sustainable Cities in the Vertical Age — in Mumbai between February 3 and 5, 2010.
The organisation has 3,87,584 members including architects, engineers, developers, building owners and urban planners.
The conference in Mumbai will see over 700 delegates and around 50 global speakers.
The CTBUH is also the arbiter of the criterion upon which high rise buildings are measured, including determining the tallest buildings in the world.