Once again the suggestion of shifting the wholesale trade in steel, medicine, jewellery, cloth, and consumer durables outside of Mumbai to non-congested localities has come up. This, housing experts claim, would surely open up a large space of land for development and redevelopment. However, they are not sure that such a thing would happen anytime soon.
Kalbadevi, Bhulleshwar and nearby areas are dotted with small factory units. According to Pankaj Kapoor, MD, Liases Foras, a real estate research firm, shifting these units will have a big impact on the area. Shifting takes time and it may not be an easy affair. For example, he says, the diamond bourse building in Bandra-Kurla Complex was ready but the diamond merchants weren’t ready to shift from Panchratna in south Mumbai for almost 10 years.
Kapoor says that in markets like Kalbadevi each one is connected to the other, and there are invisible strings attached. Therefore, shifting of shops would mean taking away a lot of employment too. “While shifting of slum-dwellers from one location to another is a difficult task, this is a huge market, and that point has to be considered. Also, disintegration of the market will have an impact on the economy.”
However, he explains that if the shifting happens it would open up land that can be used for better planning.
Arqam Shaikh, of Arc Associates, an architecture firm, looking mostly into redevelopment of old, cessed buildings, says that if the government is serious then they should get a special done planning for such areas.