Redevelopment projects are improving most of the areas occupied by new houses during Gudi Padwa
At a popular South Indian eatery in central Matunga, hangs a large framed map of Mumbai with the dateline 1919 on it. The map gives the impression of having a hole in the center; Areas of Mahim, Dharavi, Sion. An online search of old maps of Mumbai will also reveal the seven islands by their historical names.
Only then do you realize how much reclamation has gone into creating the Mumbai we know, with areas like Backbay Reclamation, Bandra Reclamation, BKC, Juhu, Central Mumbai and so on. That version was Mumbai 1.0 while the expansion of Mumbai to the suburbs can be termed as Version 2.0, and further development of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region can be termed as Version 3.0. One of these is version 2.1 of the millennium shift with a popular concept – redevelopment which has seen a lot in the suburbs since then.
For most residents, it’s like modernizing your abode with that much-needed, extra space as the biggest motivator. A typical two to three floor building is being replaced by a tower with modern amenities and technology-based security.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the house warming ceremony of a friend, Ravichandran Narayanan, in Chembur. A simple two storey building has now been converted into a 14 storey high building. Residents are preparing to move in during Gudi Padwa, while some carpentry work gets completed, along with some customized plumbing and electrical fittings.
Over the past two decades, Chembur, a erstwhile quiet suburb in one corner of the city, has emerged as the epicenter of redevelopment. With access to South Mumbai due to the Eastern Freeway; central suburbs via the Eastern Express Highway; Close to the western suburbs and Navi Mumbai via the Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR), it is ideally located.
Recounting the story of redevelopment, Ravichandran shares that for a building that was constructed in 1963, the initial plan for redevelopment came in 2010, and went on till 2013. The rebranding of most properties in the area as ‘heritage’ delayed the process.
The matter was revived sometime in 2015, and when he was about to strike a deal with a builder, another issue cropped up. Most of the members had lost hope, thinking that they were destined to live in an old structure that would need constant repair and maintenance.
Scene from Shabari Gayatri |
However, the committee persisted on the matter and obtained the consent of all the members. Thankfully, after completing all the formalities, the building was handed over to a builder for redevelopment in October 2020. The old building called ‘Gayatri’ was demolished by December 2020 and the existing members eagerly watched the new tower, ‘Shabri Gayatri’ come up. Up instead.
Earlier the occupants of the second floor of the old building, who had to climb the stairs, often wished for an elevator. Now they have two lifts in the redeveloped building. Earlier the view from the terrace at a height of about 40 feet was up to a distance of about one kilometre, while the view from the new terrace at a height of 150 feet is till the horizon.
Housewarming photo |
Ravi’s mother, Seshambal Narayanan, tells that when they came to the original house, their family consisted of four people. Her husband passed away in 2014 and today, from the 10th floor apartment, she is trying to see her daughter Radhika’s apartment in Ghatkopar!
(The writer is Trend Science, Communication and Marketing Consultant)