Water shortages and a high cost of living are Mumbai’s two most critical problems, say the city’s residents.The first found its way to the list of concerns for three-fourths of 10,374 people interviewed in March in a Hindustan Times-Ipsos Indica Research study. The second was a problem for two-thirds of the respondents.
The survey is part of HT’s Mumbai First initiative, through which we examine in depth your hopes for and concerns about the city through the year. ( Click here for larger image)
“Water is no doubt a big concern,” said UPS Madan, project director of the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit, a think tank. “Policy makers are addressing the supply side, with the construction of the new Middle Vaitarna dam. But apart from that, we must manage the demand side too — by plugging leakages, re-using water and considering time-of-day metering.”
“But to me, infrastructure is the biggest concern, mainly housing and transport,” he said.
Infrastructure did emerge as one of the top two issues for the city’s future, just behind education.
While top-notch educational facilities made it to 54 per cent of people’s visions for the city, world-class infrastructure featured in 52 per cent of interviewees’ wish lists.
Nishit Pandey, 44, corporate director of McDonald’s for the western and southern regions, who grew up in Delhi but has lived in Mumbai for the past 23 years, acknowledged that infrastructure was a problem in all Indian cities, but felt others were addressing the issue more systematically.
“Not only is Mumbai’s infrastructure absolutely inadequate,” he said. “But new developments are being carried out in a haphazard manner.”
He cited the three barely-used skywalks in Bandra, Santacruz and Vile Parle as examples. A frequent visitor to Bangalore, he pointed out that while that city had built a new airport, Mumbai was yet to get permissions for one at Panvel.
But citizens still found much to celebrate about the city.