City: Mumbai

It has been just over a week since Mumbai was lashed by the highest 24-hour December rain in a decade due to cyclone Ockhi. Temperatures dropped sharply, schools were shut, and companies issued advisories to employees. But when such a disaster strikes the city, the most vulnerable are invariably its homeless. Brijesh Arya, an activist working with the homeless in Mumbai, mentions many cases from Mumbai’s monsoon floods this year. One is the case of Anju Kharwa, who held her child on her shoulders for as long as the floods raged. The flood that lasted nearly two days had caused…

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If recent news reports are to be believed, the Bangalore Metro is set to have coaches for women soon, according to Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning K J George. The facility is expected to be implemented in 2019, when the total number of coaches will be increased from three to six. The demand for reservation had come from a section of women passengers, once the Purple Line (Mysore Road to Byappanahalli) became operational and ridership multiplied. BMRCL currently estimates that 40% of their nearly three lakh daily passengers are women, and plans to hold a survey to find…

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As Indian cities expand at breakneck speed, they gobble up surrounding villages at a blistering pace. Mumbai is no different.  However, if you look for it, you will still find traces of several villages, older than the city itself, that have survived the onslaught of urbanisation. Some maintain their way of life, because they are fishing villages and depend on the sea for survival. Others are not so lucky and have become sites for low-income housing in a city where real estate is one of the most expensive in the country. These images bring us snatches of life from a…

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India’s largest city, and the eighth largest globally, Mumbai houses more than 1.2 crore people according to Census 2011. The city traffic has a notorious image, with frequent traffic jams being reported routinely in the media. However, the Draft Development Plan for Greater Mumbai 2014-2034 conveys a different story of how the city moves. The plan reveals that more than half of the city uses non-motorised modes of transport such as walking and cycling (51%). 42% of the trips are catered to by public modes of transport, including trains, buses, auto rickshaws etc, while the share of cars, two-wheelers and…

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It seemed like a bright sunny day. A working woman in her late thirties, left Powai for Matunga by Uber at 7.30 a.m. The route normally takes 45 minutes. But yesterday it took a little longer than usual, around 75 minutes. The rain gods had by then showcased a trailer of what was going to be an adventurous day. Even then, never had I thought that I would return to the cosy comfort of my home only after more than 24 hours! As a Mumbaikar, you can feel the vibe when rain, or for that matter anything, rises above the…

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Mumbai, a city that grew along the railway tracks is now a city that has surrendered to the lure of cars. With this habit came the need for more roads and flyovers to make space for the city’s cars and parking space for them. One of the many consequences of this trend has been the surrender of open spaces, footpaths and places where children used to play. But adults in the city haven’t managed to destroy childhood. Not yet. It’s unsafe, but children will play in available space and we can ignore them at our own peril. These photos tell…

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Over the last six months, cab drivers from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru have held protests against the policies of cab aggregators Uber and Ola. Uber’s India President Amit Jain had denounced the cab drivers protest.“It is the work of a small number of individuals who do not represent the majority of driver community,” he had said according to a news report. “There is this mix between organic and incentives. Incentives might have come down, but what a driver partner takes home is organic money plus incentives." In his blog post, Amit Jain explained, “individual driver earnings vary widely…

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How green is my city?

In October 2016, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala rejected the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2016, sending it back to the state government for reconsideration. The Bill allowed for reducing the area of parks and open spaces within residential layouts, in towns other than Bengaluru. Currently, 15% of the area of residential layouts have to be retained for parks and playgrounds for the use of general public, and another 10% for civic amenities. The amendment would reduce these to 10% and 5% respectively, which will be applicable for all upcoming layouts. The KUDA Bill had been passed by the legislature…

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