BMC plans to give Worli-Koliwada a Greek island vibe
The Worli Koliwada facelift is intended to blend seamlessly with the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the planned coastal road and Worli Fort to create a unique aesthetic view to attract tourists.
Mumbai: One of the oldest fishing villages of Mumbai is all set to get a facelift on the lines of Santorini, the beautiful Greek island known for its whitewashed houses with blue doors and windows. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in a bid to beautify G (south) ward and attract tourists, is proposing to give Worli Koliwada a Santorini aesthetic as part of its project.
Chandrashekhar Zhambre, executive engineer, G (south) ward, told Hindustan Times that the houses of fisherfolk would be uniformly painted in white and blue, with depictions of Koli culture on the houses. “The BMC will not utilise its funds for this,” he said. “We approached a leading corporate to fund us and we’ll do the entire makeover with CSR money. We are also planning to install signage for two internal major roads in Worli Koliwada—Golpa Devi Road, which goes to Worli Fort, and Varas Lane. Golpa Devi road is narrow and will be widened. Of course we will take the locals into confidence before doing anything.”
The Worli Koliwada facelift is intended to blend seamlessly with the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the planned coastal road and Worli Fort to create a unique aesthetic view to attract tourists. “This will generate revenue and also provide livelihood to Kolis,” said the civic official.
Advocate Sharad Koli, a Worli Koliwada resident, told HT that the village currently has 10,000 houses. “Each cottage comprises around 25 rooms but as seven generations reside in one home, the cottages have been divided into much smaller rooms,” he said.
Koli, who welcomed the BMC’s decision, said the fisherfolk were looking forward to their village getting a Santorini vibe. “Houses in uniform blue and white will look nice and bring recognition to Worli Koliwada,” he said, “provided of course that the colour is a decent shade of blue. Our only concern is that it should not affect the livelihood of fishermen. If they mess with the coastline in the name of beautification or development, it is not acceptable to us. But if this beautification opens up new avenues of revenue, it is a welcome step in the right direction.”
One hiccup in the plan was with regard to the open spaces surrounding Worli Fort which fishermen use as a drying yard. The BMC had planned to convert them into a lawn, but the proposal was met with stiff resistance. “We dry fish there,” said Koli. “If we don’t get space for this, we will be deprived of our livelihood for three months. There are some types of fish that need drying and cannot be sold otherwise, and so we had to oppose the lawn plan.”
Apart from the Worli Koliwada makeover, Worli Fort will also be restored. All VIP roads in G (south) ward like Dr Annie Besant Road, Senapati Bapat Road, Worli Sea Face Road, Lala Lajpat Rai Road and Dr E Moses Road along with traffic islands, footpaths, will also be beautified by the BMC.