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Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar set to get freedom from poor infrastructure

This will be made possible by the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) which has taken up the arduous task of redeveloping this 16.5 acres 125-year-old Bhendi Bazaar

Top view of Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai
Top view of Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai

It’s a busy work day for Fakhruddin Dhorajiwala at his 80-year-old stationary shop. School children, as well as adults, swarm to his shop to meet their stationary needs.  His shop is in the crowded lane of Bhendi Bazaar. This seemingly small looking shop houses almost everything that one can think of finding in a posh stationery shop in a mall. Soon Fakhruddhin too is hoping to have one posh shop. But his shop won’t be in a mall but in Bhendi Bazaar itself.

This will be made possible by the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) which has taken up the arduous task of redeveloping this 16.5 acres 125-year-old Bhendi Bazaar. Bhendi Bazaar is strategically located in the prime area of South-Central Mumbai. Today the area houses 1,250 shops and 3,200 families.

“The vision of late syedna was basically to uplift the entire area of Bhendi Bazaar. He had seen the conditions of people living there. Most of the people were living in very dilapidated buildings and their condition was very unhygienic. He wanted to uplift the lives of the people. Therefore as soon as in 2009, when the government of Maharashtra came out with the cluster redevelopment policy, we were one of the first ones to jump in it and we have come a long way since then. We have moved almost 18,00 families and 500 commercial tenants. We have already started construction in two of the large clusters, says Abbas Master CEO, SBUT.

Bhendi Bazaar is known for its vibrant culture. It is a home to more than 250 residential buildings. More than 80% of these buildings have been declared unfit by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority or MHADA. The Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project involves replacing these 250 dilapidated old buildings with 17 new towers. For the purpose of redevelopment Bhendi Bazaar is divided into 9 sub- clusters. The total project cost is approximately Rs. 4,000 crores.

The houses in Bhendi Bazaar are really tiny and lacks ventilation. Most of them are more than 100 years old and were built during the colonial rule. So clearly these were built for some different era and are not suited for today’s lifestyle. The majority of these tiny rooms houses families consisting of more than 6 people.

Bhendi Bazaar 3

The redevelopment aims to free people from the unsanitary condition in which they are living today. More than 90% residents in Bhendi Bazaar area are tenants. SBUT has acquired ownership of most of the homes from the landlords and now after the redevelopment, these residents will come back to their new homes as owners.

Not only this the residents will get bigger homes which will measure 350 sq.ft. The homes will be designed to maximize natural light and ventilation.

The commercial tenants will also be benefitted as the project will create a distinct high street shopping environment. This will attract new customers to the area.  Along with this, the project will be infused by new age information technology that will be able to attract new avenues of growth for the existing as well as new businesses.

The project has been pre-certified ‘Gold’ by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Both residential, as well as commercial tenants, are celebrating the makeover of Bhendi Bazaar.

“We are very happy because our lifestyle will completely change. Our children will be much happier than us,” says Fakhruddhin.

Bhendi Bazaar 2

Another distinct feature of the Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment project is the transit accommodations which are being provided to both the residential and commercial tenants. The commercial transit known as Mufaddal Shopping Arcade was built in record 90 days.

The residential transit complex has been built at Anjeerwadi (Mazgaon) comprising of 950 units. It is beautifully designed and the residents are provided with all the modern amenities.

Apart from Anjeerwadi SBUT has few more transit camps within 2-3 km of Bhendi Bazaar.

After the completion of the first phase of Bhendi Bazaar redevelopment,  600-700 tenants will be brought back. SBUT hopes to complete the first phase by 2019. The success of this project will not only decongest Mumbai but will also serve as a blueprint for several cluster redevelopment projects across the country.
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