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Published on 10/3/2017 2:58:41 PM
Elphinstone Road incident highlights infra urgency in Mumbai
The morning rush hour stampede on Elphinstone Road-Parel foot-over bridge that killed 22 people on Friday has once again brought the issue of crumbling and overburdened infrastructure in the country’s financial capital to the fore.

For decades, urban planners have been voicing their concerns regarding the chaotic situation in this megacity. With population of over two crore, Mumbai is the world’s second-most crowded city and archaic infrastructure is making things worse. Despite the issues related to mass transit systems, urban housing shortage, water and sewage, the Maximum city continues to survive.

Central part of the city, specifically the alternate business district covering Lower Parel, Worli, Elphinstone Road, Currey Road, Chichpokli and Mahalaxmi that used to be a textiles mill area until it started its transformation as a swanky commercial zone in the late 1990s, has been burdened severely.

Lack of planned urb an infrastructure to support the accidental makeover of the central part of the country’s commercial capital has started to take its toll on roads, mass transit systems and now even human lives.

In the four years starting from 2008, Lower Parel alone had witnessed launch of nearly 8 million sq ft office space, more than the entire 6 million sq ft in Nariman Point, long the hub of Indian businesses. Office spaces in central Mumbai have now grown to nearly 11 million sq ft providing job opportunities to thousands. This was expected to put severe burden on the existing infrastructure, mainly developed during British era, as the population density increased manifold.

The city’s lifeline, Mumbai suburban railway system that ferries around 7.5 million passengers every day, was built during British era is the oldest such system in Asia. While the network has undergone upgrades and expansion over the years, a complete new parallel rapid transit system through metro corridoors has been mooted after so many years.

Hopefully, the new network planned under Mumbai Metro--probably the largest infrastructure project being undertaken in Mumbai since independence--would help in easing the burden on mass transit systems in the city. While suburban railway network helped connecting the city in linear manner, total eight lines that have been announced so far under Mumbai Metro aim to link the city in all directions.

For years, we only heard about the proposals and policy moves for metro corridors, coastal road, monorail network, trans-harbor link connecting Mumbai with its satellite city Navi Mumbai. But now the work on infrastructure front in Mumbai is being undertaken on war footage.

While these initiatives are moving in right direction, we hope the process would continue further to ensure that the increased population density is supported by solid infrastructure.



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