Mumbai demographics

The Maharashtra state government’s policies to close mills and redevelop old, dilapidated buildings, as well as use TDR in the suburbs, are clearly beginning to impact the long-term demographic map of Mumbai. Lower-income households are moving out of the island city and heading north. A study on population trends estimates that areas like Girgaum, Parel, Lalbaug and Worli will have declining populations even as Mumbai’s population as a whole could almost double by 2031.While the 2001 census put the city’s population at 1.2 crore, the study ‘Population of Mumbai: Trends and Prospects’, done by TISS professor D P Singh, says that the city could have as much as 2.1 crore people by 2031. The study’s more conservative estimates put the estimates at either 1.8 crore or 1.5 crore by 2031. Neera Adarkar, conservation architect and social activist, said that low-income dwellers in redeveloped south Mumbai buildings are given alternate accommodation, but joblessness and the rising standard of living forces them to move north.Even at a high population growth rate, F-South Ward (Parel, Lalbaug) would have only 3.45 lakh people by 2031. In 2001, it had 3.96 lakh and in 1991 4.17 lakh. D Ward (Girgaum, Tardeo, Malabar Hill) could drop from 3.82 lakh in 2001 to 3.5 lakh by 2031. The most populated ward, R-North (Borivli-Dahisar), could have 18 lakh people by 2011 and 36 lakh by 2031. The least populated ward in 2001 was B (P D’Mello Rd, JJ) with 1.4 lakh. H-East (Bandra, Khar, Santa Cruz) could dip to 1.35 lakh, becoming the least populated .Medium population growth could see the city having 1.4 crore people by 2011, 1.6 crore by 2021 and 1.8 crore by 2031. Slower growth would see the city having 1.3 crore, 1.4 crore and 1.5 crore people by 2011, 2021 and 2031, respectively. The highest populations would be in the civic wards of RNorth (Borivali, Dahisar), H-West (Bandra, Khar, Santa Cruz) and M-East and West (Chembur, Govandi, Trombay, Shivaji Nagar). Singh’s study, which will be used by the BMC to understand the citizens’ needs, says pressing problems will be the growth of slums and dearth of housing.

Borivli-Dahisar: R-North, the northernmost ward in the western suburbs, is spread over 18 sq km and touches the Mumbai-Thane border. For more than a decade it has become been the favourite destination of the island city’s middle-class, which is searching for larger homes at reasonable rates. It will continue to be the most populous of the 24 civic wards, with a population of 36 lakh in 2031, according to the highest growth estimate. This means it would have 2 lakh people per sq km. In 2001, the ward had 11 lakh people.“Western Railway has several trains starting from Borivali, which makes getting in and out of trains easy. From the commuting point of view, Borivali-Dahisar is a good starting point,’’ said Gopal Shetty, local BJP MLA.The ward also has several open spaces that are being marked for development as residential areas. “In terms of water supply, too, it is better than several other wards. The new water tunnels being laid by the BMC will further augment the ward’s water supply,’’ said Shetty.

Bandra-Khar-Santa Cruz: H-West is among the more coveted residential addresses in the city. Given the demand, builders prefer using their Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’. The unfettered use of TDR and a growing slum population will make the ward the second-most populous one by 2031. From the 2001 figure of 5.8 lakh, it will shoot up to 28 lakh by 2031 according to the high estimate. It would be more densely populated than Borivali-Dahisar with 2.33 lakh people per sq km. At a low estimate, the population would grow to 20 lakh by 2031. Bandra corporator Ashish Shelar said that on an average there is a 2% annual increase in the number of ration cards used in H-West. “There are no rehab schemes for project-affected persons in this ward. This is an indication of slums growing due to official incompetence and political patronage,’’ he added. Shelar said increasing commercialisation in Bandra (East) means the search for housing in the west has grown.

Chembur-Trombay-Govandi: M-East and West have a high concentration of sensitive installations, like oil refineries and BARC. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited has already filed a petition in the high court saying that it is desirable not to have too many residential colonies there. For decades, the state consciously kept FSI in the ward low at 0.5 to discourage residential projects. But the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in 1999 changed this by increasing the FSI to 1. Recently, the DF government increased the FSI further to 1.33. Hence, the rise in population there. From 10.8 lakh in 2001, the two wards will have 19 lakh in 2031. The ward has large swathes of No Development Zones. These have proven ideal for the rehabilitation of slum-dwellers affected by infrastructure projects. But the BMC has been unable to provide amenities at the needed pace. Transport is also a problem as also the complete absence of a sewerage network.

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