I have a fondness for the Indian national carrier and am definitely biased towards it. My parents flew for Air India in the 70’s, they met & fell in love at their jobs and I am what is often referred to as an Air India baby. It helped introduce me to the world outside India and helped start a passion of travel that has defined my tastes and personality in profound ways.
The Mumbai Port Trust owns thousands of hectares of land in East Mumbai (Harbor Line), within close proximity of Mumbai city. it takes a mere 20 minutes on the new JJ flyover from Cotton Green to Nariman Point.
The Mumbai Port is defunct and unviable in the long run, it will remain a port for Military and Naval vessels but all commercial traffic prefers to use Nava Shiva (JNPT) cause of lower turnaround time and newer facilities.
The govt has permission to sell the land but is refraining from doing so because of the builder / politician nexus.
Opening up the port trust land will drop realty prices considerably as the artificial scarcity of space is lucrative and has driven up realty prices.
This artificial scarcity allows the builders and their silent political partners to charge higher prices and to over develop the pre-existing land.
Once the land has been completely over developed and sold they will release the east mumbai land and begin developing that.
It might sound like a good plan to develop in phases but due to this scarcity model there is no talk of parks and open spaces.
Recommendations for open green spaces (which do not make any money) are said to be unviable and the need for apartments and housing is glorified.
We should learn from the mistakes of Urban planners in Shanghai (where open spaces are non existent and traffic snarls, pollution and other side effects of over development are the norm) and instead look at the urban planners of cities that understood the importance of a balance between development and open green spaces.
Letting squatters live on government land earmarked for open spaces and then stating that they have a right to accommodation and the only way to achieve that is by selling the land to developers who will give them a flat in return and turn land meant for open spaces into buildings and towers, is the essence of this scam.
What ever happened to the open spaces the land was originally ear marked for?
Short term gains are trumping long term benefits, unless this nexus is exposed and the greed rooted out, life in Mumbai will prove to be exhausting and unsustainable in the long run.
If you’ve read this far, on the note of Land abuses, I am amazed at how politicians use all public land under their constituency as their own and to be used for their profit.
Some examples are:-
1. Letting squatters live on government land and become a loyal vote bank.
2. Illegal billboards glorifying and reminding residents of the accomplishments of their elected representatives, for reasons as unworthy of praise as aging by a year.
3. Setting up dummy development companies to give them the tenders for developing the same public land which was earmarked for open spaces and then squatted on.
4. Allowing squatters to put up 1 concrete wall per election till they have a concrete house and then allowing them to build one floor up and on and on.
5. Allowing religious functions to trump resident concerns in the desire for votes.