Remodelling will destroy Mumbai"s Crawford market

Remodelling will destroy Mumbai the majestic image you see on the right is going to fade away. The Crawford market in south Mumbai is going to be "redeveloped'. On March 10, amid strong protests from heritage activists, majority of the elected corporators in Mumbai approved the contentious Crawford market redevelopment plan.

The municipality refused to hold any dialogue on it. The corporators turned down a suggestion by the mayor to discuss the plan, saying it was cleared in September 2007 and needed no further deliberation. While members of the Nationalist Congress Party and the Samajwadi Party demanded a debate, the Shiv Sena-BJP corporators opposed the move. The Congress was silent.

Heritage activists and civil rights groups have termed the decision "one of the biggest failures of democracy'. "In spite of our briefing the members about the risks of the builder-driven redevelopment plan, they have refused to reconsider it.We strongly feel the political parties are aiming at the general election due next year. Builders and tenants are a good source of funds,' says Surendra Srivastava, spokesperson of the ngo, Lok Satta Movement, Mumbai.

ngos cite several problems with the plan. The first among them is the faulty market redevelopment policy of the corporation. It was framed in 2002 and adopted in 2005. It says 70 per cent of the shop-tenants in a market can choose a private builder for redevelopment. The builder will get a floor space index (fsi) of four