In the fourth part of mid-day’s examination of issues affecting the Bandra-Kurla Complex, employees at corporate offices in the area highlight the lack of affordable eating options
A matter as simple as daily lunch has become a matter of concern for office-goers at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, since the restaurants and eateries there are not affordable. With the limited number of options to choose from, employees have to resort to eating at roadside stalls, an unsafe and unhealthy prospect, especially during the monsoon.
MMRDA says the urban plaza at BKC (right) will be ready within three months. The plaza will have restaurants and shops to cater to the needs of people
BKC has several multi-national and government companies, along with residential colonies. There are two five-star hotels, a food court near MMRDA’s office and some standalone restaurants in BKC. But, employees feel these joints blow a hole in their pockets. Abhinav Vagal, a media professional, said, “There is a need for more food courts and restaurants that are affordable. The restaurants at the food court are expensive.”
Another employee of a government department, requesting anonymity, said, “Our office canteen is not very good. But we can’t even afford to go for lunch at these restaurants every day because they are so expensive.” Employees estimated that, on an average, they ran up a minimum bill of R200-R250 at these places an amount that is not easy to digest. Hence, employees resort to eating unhealthy food like vada pav and sandwiches from roadside stalls, putting their health at risk.
Worse in the evening
The problem is compounded in the evening, as most places shut around 10 pm. People who work late tend to go hungry, or have to wait until they reach the nearest hotel which takes time, considering BKC isn’t well-connected. Even locals underscored the need to have more eateries and shops to buy basic groceries and necessities.
Vishwam Dhote, who visits BKC for work, said, “In the evening, there are hardly any places where one can go and eat with friends and family. Moreover, there are very few shops. This problem needs to be addressed because people staying nearby have to travel long distances to buy basic items.” Residents go as far as Kurla, Kherwadi, Sion, Bandra and Santacruz for their shopping.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had taken up the task to construct an urban plaza in 2012, promising that it would be replete with shops and restaurants that fit in people’s budget.
The building located next to Asian Heart Hospital and spanning 1,630 square metres, is set to be completed soon. MMRDA had invited bids from interested parties to run the plaza, and reported that it had received a good response.
MMRDA’s Joint Project Director Dilip Kawathkar said, “Construction of the ground-plus-four storey urban plaza is almost complete. It will be operational in the next two to three months. We have received a good response from bidders, and the plaza will have proper restaurants and shops to cater to the needs of the people.”
Vishwam Dhote, regularly visits BKC for work
There are hardly any places at BKC where one can go and eat with friends and family. Moreover, there are very few shops. People have to travel long distances to buy basic items
Abhinav Vagal, media professional
There is a need for more food affordable options. The restaurants at the food court are expensive.