Infrastructure: Mumbai's first theme park, and other milestones

Sep 15, 2013, 09:35 IST | SUNDAY MiD DAY Team

In section one of our 32nd anniversary special, we look back at the momentous occasions and events that have given shape to the Mumbai we know today

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2001: JJ flyover eases traffic woes
The 2.4-km long Makhdoom Ali Mahimi flyover, popularly known as the JJ flyover, connecting commuters and pedestrians from JJ Hospital near Nagpada to Crawford Market in just two-and-a-half minutes, opens. Earlier, free movement in the area was impossible. One of the most congested neighbourhoods in the city, it buzzed with vendors, vehicles, handcarts and pedestrians. But the flyover helps in easing traffic.

A bird’s-eye view of the JJ flyover. Pic/Shadab Khan

1986: Mumbai gets its first theme park
Mumbaiites finally get their own Disneyland that they can frequent with their family, friends and loved ones. Essel World, a theme park owned by Pan India Paryatan Pvt Ltd (PIPPL), is the first amusement park to come up in the city at Gorai. It boasts of 13 family rides, nine thrill rides and nine children’s rides along with a dance floor and a bowling alley.

1990: Biggest veggie market in city
Almost two decades after the birth of Navi Mumbai, the world’s largest planned city commissions a wholesale agricultural produce market at Vashi, to supply vegetables and fruits to entire Mumbai. Known as Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) it soon becomes the headquarters of all agricultural products coming into Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.

2002: India gets its first six-lane expressway
The Mumbai Pune Expressway, (officially known as the Yashwantrao Chavan Mumbai Pune Expressway), India’s first six-lane concrete, access-controlled tolled expressway completed by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) opens. The first phase opens in 2000 and the entire route is made operational from 2002.

Then & Now

Rahul Asthana,

Former MMRDA commissioner

Traffic is the city’s biggest enemy
Infrastructure encompasses public transport system, solid waste management, electricity and water supply. In the last three decades, the biggest change that we have seen in Mumbai is the rising population, increase in private vehicles consequently resulting in the increase in traffic. As a result, though projects have been developed, Mumbaiites have not being able to reap their true benefits. The Eastern Freeway and The Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) have been built to ease traffic congestion but at any given time, these roads are jam-packed.

Likewise on the railways front, the Central Railway and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have worked in unison towards better signaling and rakes to increase their capacity but the population has been rising simultaneously. In terms of power, Mumbai is one of the best cities in the country with good power supply. The water supply has been augmented by 400 million litres per day, thanks to the Vaitarna project. In order to solve the waste management problem, the MMRDA has zeroed in on regional land filling sites for five corporations -- Thane, Bhiwandi, Mira Bhayander, Vasai- Virar and Kalyan.

As part of this scheme, waste can be dumped on a land, scouted by a private operator who will be in charge of segregating the waste and disposing it off. The traffic issue can be addressed only by ensuring that people with private vehicles are encouraged to use the public transport. That can happen only when there are better buses and better railway services. We also need to explore our rich coastline and tap water transport. This will ease traffic considerably. We need to have more sea links, better coastal routes and encourage the use of ferries.

Sepia memory
Alpana Lath Sawai

on the night of November 26, 2008, I was at my parents’ home in Borivli. When my father told me that terrorists had attacked Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), I thought he was being his usual dramatic self. Our first impression when the attacks were confirmed was that they were confined to CST.

Then we heard terrorists had spread out all over South Mumbai and the city was under attack. We called people in that part of town to see whether everyone was safe. My husband had boarded a train from CST a little before the terrorists laid siege.

Other people were supposed to dine at the Taj Hotel but had cancelled reservations; someone had left Leopold Cafe 20 minutes before the shoot-out there. We kept thinking that the attacks were going to end; instead, they went on for four days. People we knew experienced threat first-hand and no one felt safe.

It was like watching a gangster film. Mumbai and its people were robbed of their innocence; the impenetrable façade and mask of the city that never slept slipped. 26/11 changed us.

Alpana Lath Sawai was Editor SUNDAY MiD DAY from 2005 to 2010 

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