In my 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, the issue of reclaiming Mumbai’s Port Lands was central to my agenda.
Mumbai’s Port Lands, (comprising approx. 1000 acres of non operational land within the Mumbai Port Trust, on the eastern water front) represent a unique and perhaps the only chance to re-vitalise and re-imagine the city of Mumbai.
The Mumbai Port was once the fulcrum of our great industrial city from the 18th-20th century. However with rising costs, Industry migrated, with a corresponding decline in Port operations. Once thriving warehouses turned derelict and the area is now a dumping ground for coal (1.8 mln tonnes in 2013), a toxic ship breaking yard, (where the iconic air craft carrier Vikrant has been beached for scrap) and other polluting and undesirable activities.
The area can and should become a green lung for the city offering much needed public utilities such as schools, colleges, vocational training centres, hospitals, libraries, playgrounds, sports facilities, arts & crafts zones and open spaces. It can also become an Educational cum sports hub, and an Innovation cluster with Incubation facilities and infrastructure for new age entrepreneurs.
Over the past few months, I was happy to see that many Mumbaikars shared this dream and even happier that the new Government picked up this idea, and invited citizen suggestions.
Working with a wonderful group of young architects, urban planners and Mumbaikars, we formed a citizens group called APLI Mumbai and proposed the attached vision plan to the Mumbai Port Trust.
Our proposal takes into account the historical, archeological and ecological characteristics of the Port Lands and proposes 12 neighbourhoods that can swiftly and economically transform our Port Lands into a beautiful, friendly, open and vibrant part of our city.
Strategically located between the Suburban harbour line and the eastern waterfront, most parts of the Port Lands are no more than a 10 minute walk from an existing railway station. The Eastern waterfront lends itself seamlessly to coastal water transport and with the 9 Passenger Water Terminals that we have proposed, the Port Lands can decongest Mumbai’s crowded arterial roads and provide much needed North-South and trans-harbour connectivity.
We have suggested certain core principles to the Rani Jadhav Committee in our Citizens Vision plan, namely :
We have also suggested an enabling Legislative framework and a financing plan, that envisages Mumbai’s industrial houses, investing their CSR budgets, for creating Public utilities and public spaces, that are much needed for the future of all Mumbaikars.
To ensure that this is truly a Citizens plan and that the Port Lands are not subjected to the land grab that our Mill Lands were, please share this widely with your friends and family and all who are passionate about the future of our city.
We see this as a living document and would be very glad to receive your ideas and suggestions.
Please share your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can incorporate your input and update the MbPT at regular intervals.