From Dadar, Mumbai - 28

The heart of the metropolis is a mix of the middle-class and a burgeoning affluent fringe, which is changing the character of the area

Mapping MumbaiWhat makes Dadar unique for commuters in Mumbai is that the place is the only railway station common to both the Central and Western lines. Living in Dadar for Rishiraj Kulkarni, a real estate developer has been a great joy. He says, “Now due to a lot of redevelopment taking place, more flats will become available also the rates have stabilised as a result giving buyers more choice. Dadar has got swanky new projects and there are options for buyers who want to buy quality apartments here.”

Congestion and crowds
For resident Alpesh Gogri, Dadar has become overcrowded and congested. He says, “Being centrally located, people have always ended up making Dadar a meeting point. The hawkers on the roads have added to problems. There is no order and also the lack of hygiene in Dadar market is unhealthy.”

Historic: Shivaji Park is Dadar’s most iconic space. PIC/PRADEEP DHIVAR
Historic: Shivaji Park is Dadar’s most iconic space. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Dadar East resident, Abhay Chavan who is National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) South Mumbai president says, “The buildings in Dadar give us a sense of belonging. As children growing up, we have been moulded by the bylanes of Dadar — going to Shivaji Park for games, visiting Dadar Chowpatty for picnics and playing in the compound of Portuguese Church. Now with redevelopment projects coming up, the essence of Dadar will change but I think that will be for the better.”

Ajay Singh, Kalbadevi resident says, “The crowds in Dadar and the development of the area have not gone hand in hand. This sadly, has compounded problems for the place. Foothpaths have not come up properly in Dadar. As one of the most crowded places in Mumbai, people need a safe place to walk, but that is unavailable.”

New projects
With the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) re-developing spaces in Dadar, the area is in constant flux. Kulkarni says, “With plans for one of the phases of the metro passing through; as well as the monorail touching Dadar, the area is going to see a lot of development. Dadar has scope to see a lot of new residential and commercial projects with developers offering a variety of quality condos as well as commercial spaces. I think we will see a lot of economic activity in the area.”

Central Point: An aerial view of Dadar TT. Pic/Rane Ashish
Central Point: An aerial view of Dadar TT. Pic/Rane Ashish

Gogri says, “If redevelopment happens, the cluster way that is currently being talked about in the Dadar-Matunga area, locals will get houses in prime locations, which is good. Owning a house in central Mumbai otherwise is impossible for the average middle-class person.”

Singh says, “The average Dadar person is middle-class and if he or she does not get a house here, living in the city will be impossible. So re-development needs to happen keeping the locals and their accommodation in mind. The prime area that Dadar has developed into has been because of the common man here, who has worked tirelessly for it. Towers and commercial spaces are coming up, but the sanctity of residential areas should not be lost as a result of changes.”

Fantastic future
Dadar in the next 10 years will have towers all around according to Chavan. He says, “Like how Bandra-Kurla Complex has come up to be a great hub, Dadar will also develop in the same way. Just like Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, Dadar will be the main location of all businesses here in the city.”

Rishiraj Kulkarni, Alpesh Gogri, Abhay Chavan, Ajay Singh

“The best thing about Dadar is that like Mumbai, the place never sleeps. There is something happening 24X7. If hygiene, hawkers and crowds are managed properly, beauty will increase and residents will love living here even more than they already do,” says Gogri.

According to Kulkarni, “Dadar had always been characterised as a quaint neighbourhood known for its art and cultural activities. As frenetic development has taken place, Dadar has become more cosmopolitan.”

Singh, though says there are caveats, “I see politicians and builders filling their pockets which is not good for Dadar. If this continues, the Dadar of dreams that the common people hope for will be far from reality. Yet, if things improve, Dadar will be an even better place to live in.”

From being a cultural hub, Dadar is changing into a commercial space, but residents are confident that their home will manage to adapt to the changes and become better.

This is the fifth part of our weekly series on different areas in Mumbai, through the lens of the locals

Smart Stat
1900: The year in which the Dadar-Matunga-Wadala-Sion scheme, the first planned scheme in Mumbai was started

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