Dreams un­lim­ited: A place for ev­ery­one

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

ith 20 mil­lion peo­ple, 25 lakh ve­hi­cles on roads and heavy re-de­vel­op­ment — all on the rise — will Mum­bai move up the liv­abil­ity in­dex in the next six years? If the in­fra­struc­ture projects be­ing planned meet the dead­line, Mum­bai could as well be­come the best city in the coun­try by 2017.

Here is what is be­ing planned: Air-con­di­tioned sub­ur­ban trains, Metro lines, high-speed trains to neigh­bour­ing cities and mono­rail. Add to them, more shop­ping malls, high­rises and a new air­port. Hi-tech move­ment: The first phase of the Mum­bai Ur­ban Trans­port Pro­ject is al­most com­pleted and the sec­ond phase has kicked off with a fleet of trains with stain­less steel in­te­ri­ors. At least three el­e­vated rail cor­ri­dors are in the ad­vanced stages of plan­ning. Other projects in­clude an air-con­di­tioned sub­ur­ban rail cor­ri­dor over the ex­ist­ing rail line and a hi-speed freight cor­ri­dor con­nect­ing JNPT port with the rest of the coun­try. Also on the anvil are hi-speed trains to Ahmedabad, which will run at 350kmph.

The first metro line and mono­rail would by ready by 2017. The first 11-km route con­nect­ing Versova-And­heri and Ghatkopar is likely to be­come op­er­a­tional within a few years.

The first mono­rail in the coun­try — be­tween Chem­bur-Wadala and Ja­cob Cir­cle — is likely to start soon. Be­sides, the next phase of the sea link con­nect­ing Worli and Haji Ali will also be func­tional within five years.

Smaller projects like the Mi­lan Sub­way fly­over, Sa­har El­e­vated road con­nect­ing the in­ter­na­tional air­port with the West­ern Ex­press High­way and the East­ern Free­way from CST to Aanik near Wadala are likely to be com­pleted soon.

The new air­port is ex­pected to open, at least par­tially, in the next six years, sub­stan­tially in­creas­ing the num­ber of flights from/to the city. The black and yel­low cabs, if they re­tain the colour-scheme till 2017, will also turn into a dial-a-cab ser­vice with easy-to-hire fa­cil­i­ties and swankier car mod­els. Seam­less travel could be a re­al­ity and you could go to places such as Alibag, Uran and Pan­vel in a me­tered cab or auto.

The BEST is also set to un­dergo a sea change, with new buses hav­ing wider LED dis­play boards, im­proved safety ameni­ties and faster speed. Be­sides, smart card tick­et­ing and air-con­di­tioned dou­ble-deck buses could be a re­al­ity.

The MMR re­gion has over 20 mil­lion peo­ple. Though the mi­gra­tion trend has slowed down in the past few years, the re­gion will be home to 25 mil­lion peo­ple in the next six years. Chang­ing sky­line: In the face of the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, hous­ing will be an­other chal­lenge. Ac­cord­ingly, the crum­bling con­crete ed­i­fices will turn chrome and steel. The city is in the early stages of a real-es­tate revo­lu­tion — it has started in the lanes of Ban­dra. Come 2017, key lo­ca­tions will be trans­formed into up­scale neigh­bour­hoods. Slum clear­ance could speed up and shabby hous­ing spaces could be­come world class ar­eas.

Of course, the plush pads will come with a life­style to match. From homes loaded with con­sumer durables and lat­est giz­mos to gated com­mu­ni­ties packed with in­dul­gent ac­tiv­i­ties, these ad­dresses will be as much habi­tats as they will be style state­ments. And malls be­ing the tem­ples of ur­ban con­ver­gence, ex­pect plenty of glitzy re­tail domes to spring up in ev­ery part of the city.

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