New Bombay

See also Sustainable urban development: New Bombay, and the Navi Mumbai site.

The Plan

The first post-independence development plan for Bombay, formulated by the Mayer-Modak Committee in 1948, suggested satellite towns north of Bombay. Ten years later, the Barve committee suggested the formation of a township on the mainland across the Thane Creek as a counter-magnet to draw away population from the already overcrowded city. This proposal was accepted by the BMC. Although the plan lay dormant for a long time, this was the beginning of New Bombay.

The planning and construction of New Bombay was given over to the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), set up for this purpose in 1970 by the Maharashtra State Government. For the first ten years of the project CIDCO acted as the planning and administrative body, as well as the developer and builder for the project.

The First Twenty Years

In 1973 the Thane Creek Bridge was opened to the public and residents were installed in Vashi. The townships that make up the New Bombay project are joined by a mass transport railway line, connecting to the Bombay suburban railway system over the Thane Creek Bridge. Belapur lies in the geographical centre of the area. Nhava and Sheva near the southern end lie on the Bombay Harbour and have port facilities to draw away the load from the Bombay Port. All three of these ports are administered by the Bombay Port Trust. An industrial area has developed around Patalganga, not far from Panvel.

The Nineties

New Bombay, with a population of 200,000, now includes 95 villages, an industrial zone and large tracts of agricultural as well as barren and marshy lands. Nevertheless a huge fraction of the residents commute to the island city daily. Vashi, just across the Thane Creek from Bombay, has developed into the core of New Bombay, offering 56% of the area's employment.

Living in New Bombay

Originally projected as a model of planned urban development, New Bombay has grown haphazardly into an outer suburb of the island city. The indigenous population has been displaced from their old settlements, and their cultivable land acquired for development. Public facilities are sparse-- there is not even a single public hospital. Unmonitored emissions from the Thane-Belapur industrial zone are a major health hazard. Nevertheless with land prices still within reach of the middle class, New Bombay continues to grow.

References and sources.
Created on Apr 19, 1996; last updated Jun 10, 1997.