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Cotton Green is set for overhaul

cities Updated: Feb 18, 2020, 00:29 IST

The Mumbai Port Trust’s (MbPT) revised plan for development of the eastern waterfront looks at major transformation of only one area – Cotton Green. In the 51-ha space, MbPT has proposed a “hi-tech city” for offices and commercial establishments and a Central and state government office complex. The revised plan submitted to the town planning department of the Maharashtra government states that of the 966ha under MbPT’s purview, only 253.62ha will be opened up for development. It has stated that 558ha hectares of the area will continue with the existing port-related activities.

There will be no change in the commercial activities in Ballard Estate and Elphinstone Estate, fishing activities in Sassoon Docks, port-related activities in Mallet Bunder, and the petroleum godowns will not be opened for development, officials said. “Around 253ha is being brought out for redevelopment to meet the city’s’ needs of water transportation, lung space, iconic gardens, large scale employment, tourism development, etc,” the plan stated.

The hi-tech city in Cotton Green, with a gross floor space index or FSI of 2, will give impetus to vertical development. A senior official from MbPT said, “The gross FSI of 2 for 253ha will be loaded only on the 51-ha land. We will also have residential blocks in the area.”

Mumbai is the fifth largest port with a revenue generation of ₹1,900 crore. However, the port is moving towards re-positioning, along the lines of major international ports around which metropolitan cities have developed, the plan states.

Urban experts, however, said the plan must not look at commercial development at all. Hussain Indorewala, assistant professor at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture (KRVIA), said, “One has to look at the detailed plan, but such high-intensity commercial development should not be proposed on government land. It must completely look at developing the area for public good.”

MbPT’s draft plan released in December 2018 received huge flak for reserving 25% of the 966 hectares of area for commercial development. Its objective, “to unlock commercial potential of the land”, was also severely criticised by urban planners who looked at the development of eastern waterfront as one of the last remaining opportunities to rejuvenate the city.

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