Mumbai’s Shanghai Dreams Crumbling?

Yesterday a building fell in Bhendi bazaar and i overheard a vivid discussion between old timers while eating dinner at a landmark diner in Khot-a-chi-wadi .

Read 20 dead in Mumbai building collapse.. See the Video here

Mumbai is the city of dream, dreams of the common men the elite and of the politicians like the Prime Minister some acheivable, some pipe dreams. Read A blueprint for Mumbai

Mumbai is also a dying city …

Read On Mumbai citys decline and Ominous warning for Costal cities like Mumbai

South Mumbai has property rates that are amongst the highest in South Asia , and world over purely on a PPP basis, no wonder Property is more precious than life, thanks to the Archaic building laws like the ULCA and Rent control Act, a inactive state and central govt pushed by vote bank politics fearful of change and of a large tenant lobby resisting change.

Worse the Maharashtra state like most others promotes the artificial shortage of property in the island city , through curtailing FSI, to garner revenues via heavy taxes on property transactions with a progressive stamp duty and registration fees and add to it new central taxes like vat, that exponentially increase costs.

It is extremely difficult to find good affordable housing in Mumbai, and property market here defies all logic, with the only plus that people in city limits and more so south Mumbai get guaranteed water and power, something most Indians, or people beyond city limits suffer a perinatal shortage of.

Heavy rains and Crashing buildings are not a new phenomenon and this is routine what is new is cloudburst and sudden disappearance of rain.

During the monsoons in Mumbai, it is a part of the Circle of Life – Some buildings crashing some/ many people dead , the customary visit by the CM, an inquiry that never bears any fruit and life goes on.

Certain shots in the Legendary comedy Jane bhi do Yaroon like the scene with the Builder and the Municipal Commissioner discussing permission for an additional floor at 17 minutes and 1hr 14 minutes still holds good here , though  the stakes have gone up manifold and the builder lobby has direct connection with the Center.

There are 19000 dilapidated buildings as per this link. Google Mumbai Building Colapse and you will find a sea of info.

There are still people living in old chawls and old dilapidated buildings at unheard of rents of Rs 5 and Rs 10 frozen at world war 2 levels, leaving little incentive to the builders to invest in the upkeep, leading to this mess, and it is not just the poor that live in chawls, some very rich folks live there too, but are unwilling to leave thanks to its unique atmosphere, comfort level or to other reasons like avoiding taxes.

To understand the unique chawl culture and environment see the movie Praan Jaye Par Shaan Na Jaye.

Imdb link, Trailer


6 thoughts on “Mumbai’s Shanghai Dreams Crumbling?

  1. Prax, like you said crashing buildings are not a new phenomenon in Mumbai. For somebody from Delhi there are other problems also,like narrow roads, traffic congestion(worse than Delhi) yet people are addicted to Mumbai. When people migrate to Mumbai(I am talking about the well off), initially they don’t like Mumbai but after living there for a few years they fall in love with Mumbai. I could never understand it. I haven’t seen so much disparity anywhere else. Outside the most beautiful complexes, hotels and well maintained residential areas there are slums.

  2. True
    Mumbai rewards the hard worker without judging him . Mumbai is toxic – its like any drug – be it nicotine or cocaine , a bit of mumbai and ur hooked !

  3. Mumbai is very individualistic, progressive, blah blah…. but then it is deprived of simple services. A separate governing body for Mumbai suburban train system for example.

  4. Having grown up in a coastal city, I have seen the effects of global warming… I grew up in Calicut where the beach has closed in on the road now.. same is the case with Mumbai… Apart from this I feel everything is going down hill in Mumbai.. especially with regards to politics..
    I have never been to the city though I want to so much…

  5. You know, we use *Mumbai che Shangay* i.e. Mumbai’s Shanghay to taunt some politicians here 😀
    Why I find it not so new? I think I know the answer.

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