Mumbra is a small suburb of Thane district and falls under the administrative preview of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). It is sandwiched between the creek on one side and the Sahadri range on the other. In the early 17th century Mumbra was a small village of Fishermen tribes (Koli and Agri) with a shipbuilding centre. Mumbra came under the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) in 1984. (source https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumbra)
A Status Report on Mumbra by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (2014), mentions that the population of Mumbra increased in the last three decades due to the riots in Bhiwandi which took place in 1984 followed by the Riots of Mumbai in the year 1992. The report states ‘Nana Bhagat, the sarpanch of Mumbra gaon (village) during the 1970s, was known for his astuteness and secular outlook. Not only did he provide support to all, irrespective of their class, caste and creed, but also nurtured the value of peaceful living among the residents of Mumbra-Kausa. The residents of Mumbra-Kausa take pride in not having experienced communal riots even when ‘Bombay burnt’. They are also proud of the fact that communal harmony is evident in their neighbourhood. This feeling was the main reason why residents of Mumbra-Kausa offered shelter to the people affected by communal strife, regardless of their religion, caste and community. Perhaps this promoted a significant number of Muslims migrating and settling down in Mumbra-Kausa in the post riot period. Availability of cheap land is claimed to be a significant factor behind ghettoization in Mumbra-Kausa. However, people did not migrate to Diva (part of present Mumbra division) in spite of cheap land being available there as well. This was because Diva was dominated by local Agri community and Muslims were not welcomed in the area.’
According to Shirin Kamal, a resident who has lived 44 years in Mumbra, the Schools, transport and buildings started to develop in the stage of 1980’s. “Maine road ke dono janib chawal ki kheti dekhi hai” According to her today Mumbra is nothing but a concrete jungle with vertical slums having no proper drainage system and water supply. The housing system in Mumbra is not up to the mark, with buildings built extremely close to each other. Unauthorized construction is a major problem faced in Mumbra. After the buildings, even roads are not even and have potholes. These potholes cause water logging.
In another interview Naina Tai (48 years), when asked what is the change she wants to see in Mumbra answered, “Mumbra ke log padhe likhe hona chahiye tab unko samjhega Mumbra ke liye kya acha kya bura hoga. Kyonki log padhe likhe nahi hai isliye Mumbra ka development ruka hua hai”. (The people of Mumbra need to be educated enough to know what is good and bad for Mumbra. Because of the people not educated enough the development of Mumbra has come to a stop.)
We need a proper development plan of Mumbra. The roads and parking also needs to be looked after for developed Mumbra. The traffic system needs to be managed properly. Road widening was done in Mumbra in order to overcome the traffic in Mumbra and hawkers were removed from the roadside. But the space made after removing those hawkers is used up for parking and the traffic is same as before. We need to come up with a permanent solution for this problem in order to develop Mumbra into a smartcity.
Is it only the responsibility of the TMC to make Mumbra a smart city or are we citizens also responsible? We need to step up and start to take initiative as a responsible individual of this Mumbra city for all sorts of development.
I am Mateen Ansari. I am a student, currently in second year IT. I want to present my thoughts and idea in the form of articles.