Mar 28, 2009

Dharavi Sports Complex

Although the global economic slowdown has delayed the Dharavi makeover plans, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is planning to construct a sports complex in the area. The work of this will begin in July 2009. It is expected that the Dharavi makeover is begin as soon as the builders find it easy to finance in the global markets.

The sport complex will be open to all citizens, but the residents of Dharavi will be offered lower fees.

The plans include lounge areas, swimming pools, restaurants, dorms, and guestrooms. The sports facilities will include field hockey, soccer, volleyball, and of course cricket. The auditorium will be available for cultural events.

This club will be situated on a 12,427 sq meter plot near Dharavi bus station near Mahim Nature Park. Total cost is expected to be Rs. 10 crore. The place is expected to be ready in two years.

Mar 25, 2009

Mumbai's Red-Light District is Shrinking

Mumbai's red light area is located at Kamathipura with history going back as far as 1889. British rulers had encouraged establishment of Anglo-Indian sex workers in this area. The clients came mostly from the garrison area. Each brothel used to hang a red light outside the doors, hence the name red-light district. The red light indicated that the establishment was soliciting patrons.

1928 was licences issued to these workers and the brothels. This continued through 1950 when prostitution was banned in Mumbai, however, it was not eradicated. The area flourished, and around 1991, there were nearly 100,000 sex workers here. Then came the AIDS which over the years has claimed nearly 30,000 sex workers' lives over the past 18 years. It is estimated that there are only about 10,000 sex workers in the region now. The business at the red-light area is shrinking and is spreading over to brothels across the city, in massage parlours, and in dance bars.

Another force squeezing the area is economic. The Kamathipura area is situated between Byculla-Mazgaon and Grant Road regions which are prime real estate areas. Property developers are now making a play for the villas of the red light district. Downturn in the business and prospects of premium pricing for the location is resulting in many long time residents of the area moving out.

Soon, the red light area of Mumbai known as Safed Gully will fade into the history books of the city.