Times Square in SoBo?

Jun 30, 2013, 03:29 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

MTDC uploads grand plans for Mumbai's makeover on its website, asking for suggestions from citizens. The detailed plan, prepared by a private firm, suggests a Mumbai Square near Kala Ghoda, redevelopment of beaches as entertainment centres, waterfront cafes next to Sewri Fort and much more

So what if we can’t stop the city from being waterlogged, sewerage lines from being choked, garbage from being dumped on streets and auto drivers from fleecing us? Mumbai can still dream of becoming Shanghai and New York. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has come up with an extensive plan to transform certain areas of the city and make them into tourism hubs.

Girgaum Chowpatty
The present state of Girgaum Chowpatty

A report submitted on June 19 by a consultant appointed by the MTDC suggests major clean up of beaches, creation of night markets, cultural centres and even a Bollywood theme park. The report recommends a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to make the city more attractive to tourists. Preservation of heritage sites is also suggested in a way where signage is placed making it easy for people to spot the heritage sites.

The MTDC hopes to transform it like an American beach with deck chairs and parasailing

Mumbai Square and waterside fortresses
The report recommends the creation of a Mumbai Square on the lines of Times Square in New York -- creating a cultural centre connecting Kala Ghoda and CST to Fashion Street and Gateway of India. The report talks about street cafes, a place for street artists to perform and shopping areas in this ‘Square.’ The report also suggests that the Sewri Fort area needs to be developed as a green recreational space. The fort needs to be conserved into and made into a viewing gallery where a small café can be built.

Other suggestions in the report include special promenades and viewing decks along the Mumbai waterfront, picnic spots, jogging tracks, food courts and an ornithology museum to educate people on the importance of mangroves and birds, such as the flamingoes, to the ecology of the city. It also shows well-thought-out plans about setting up information kiosks in different parts of the city.

Shop and surf
Of course, part of the plan is to create more dedicated markets in Mumbai. The plan suggests the creation of decongested lanes for local markets while preserving the iconic ones like the Colaba Causeway market, Fashion street, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market (Crawford market), Dadar flower market and Dharavi leather market. Food stalls and proper signage at each market is also part of this grand plan.

The detailed proposal also suggests that the seven main beaches within the city limits be developed with basic infrastructure, a proper waste-disposal system, separate play zones, pedestrian paths, benches, changing rooms for men and women and even shower facilities and a gym! The plan suggests upgrading and improving the Marve Ferry Point and Versova Jetty with signages, benches and better toilet facilities. A budget of R 20 crore has been suggested just to improve these two jetties.

Official speak
When contacted, Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC, said, “We had engaged the consultants for a presentation to a committee which is chaired by the municipal commissioner. The report is currently up on our website and we have requested the BMC to upload it on their official website too, seeking suggestions from citizens. After we get suggestions from various committee members and stakeholders, we will decide on a plan of action.” 

At least when the MTDC dreams, it dreams big.

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