Mumbai is known as the commercial capital of India and it contributes around 35 per cent to the nation’s GDP. Large number of people migrate to the city in search of employment and for earning their livelihood. Rampant migration to the metropolis is putting excessive burden on the city’s infrastructure like roads, rails, air and other modes of transportation. Every day there is a huge rush of people to board the local trains for reaching towards their office. The peak hour rush has become unbearable for many as some of them are opting for other means of transport like car-pooling and private buses provided by office etc.
Initially development had begun from the southern areas of the city as most of the banks, corporate houses, insurance companies, financial institutions were established there. Even the head offices of most of the companies are located there. However due to the exodus of large number of people south Mumbai started facing shortage of land as development started in suburban areas. As of now even suburbs have become congested as more than 70 per cent of the city’s population resides here. Due to shortage of space and rising realty rates the city started developing further towards the north as people began shifting to areas like Mira Road, Bhayander, Vasai, Virar, Kalyan, Dombivali. Since cost of living in these locations is less as compared to suburban Mumbai these areas have become popular among middle class as they can’t afford to buy a flat in the city. However, it is becoming difficult for people to commute to the city as trains are overcrowded during morning and evening.
Many people lose their balance and fall on track as they die while commuting in crowded trains. Also most of the people have to commute for atleast two hours to reach their office from these areas. According to experts even though these areas have become popular residential areas but there is minimal employment opportunities exiting there as people have to come to Mumbai for employment and undertake a long journey. While builders may have developed these locations as attractive residential areas government has failed to provide employment opportunities there. Therefore people have no option but to commute to the city for jobs which is a huge waste of time.
Today the Mumbai metropolitan areas comprising Mira Road, Bhyander, Vasai, Viran, Kalyan Dombivali, Ambernath, Navi Mumbai, Thane is growing faster than Mumbai as a popular residential destination. But 70 per cent of the employment is generated in Mumbai area. Thus there is an imbalance between the city and its extended suburbs when it comes to employment opportunities. The government needs to correct this so that people can find employment near to their place of residence. The government has planned to develop a BKC like area in Kalyan which will provide employment opportunities to the residents of that area. There is also a proposal to develop Vasai as a tourist destination and Bhiwandi as a logistical destination. If more job opportunities are provided in this areas then its will ease the pressure on Mumbai and its crumbling suburban train network.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)