A glance of Bhendi Bazaar in the past would reveal migrants such as Parsis, Jains, Katchis, who arrived from western India and settled there. In the 18th century Dawoodi Bohras and Memons came to Mumbai as traders of hardware.
However, today the Bhendi Bazaar area houses predominately Bohri Muslims. The many lanes of Bhendi Bazaar are today congested and clogged with little place available at the moment.
Redevelopment of Bhendi Bazaar
A project which was initiated by late Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin led to the formation of Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT), which is now headed by his son and successor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin. A 16.5 acre of land in Bhendi Bazaar has been taken up for redevelopment by the SBUT which consists of 250 existing buildings and 1250 shops and involves more than 20,000 people staying in Bhendi Bazaar.
The project which will cost about Rs 4000 crore is under Development Control Regulation (DCR) 33(9) that has been splendidly planned to meet the present and future socio-economic needs of the people. The new transformed place has been earmarked to create an area that will set a precedent to urban renewal projects in Mumbai.
Abbas Master, CEO, Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust, said, “The project is meticulously planned to meet the present and future socio-economic needs of the people. The new transformed Bhendi Bazaar will not only have better homes, sustainable infrastructure and thriving marketplace, but also create an environment that supports human development to its fullest potential.”
To this effect, 1,600 families from the Bhendi Bazaar area have been shifted to a transit camp in Nagpada, next to Mazgaon Dock.
A visit to the transit camp will alter your perceptions of a present day transit camp as it possesses all modern facilities and presently more than 1600 families have been shifted to the camp. The ADC explored the transit camp and interacted with the people living there, and here are their views about the camp.
Speaking to the ADC, Sherabanu (32), resident of the transit camp, said, “It had been two years since I have moved into the transit camp and I must say that I'm very happy with the facilities available here. I must say this does not appear to be a transit camp from any angle, we have all the basic facilities and even have an open ground for children to play in which was not possible in Bhendi Bazaar. However, my flat in Bhendi Bazaar was big and spacious but there was no personal toilet facilities available in Bhendi Bazaar and also the area is very congested. Over here I teach in the Madrasa which is on the 17th floor of the transit camp which imparts religious knowledge to the children of the transit camp and even others who do not stay in the camp. The camp has now become a small society.”
Shahmim Yusuf Takili, Owner, M & S Creations, said, “I shifted to the transit camp two and a half years back. In Bhendi Bazaar I owned four flats and we were the landlords but however, I must say the facilities in the camp are far better than what we had back there. In Bhendi Bazaar I used to get up at 5 am to fill water and the water would come only for 45 minutes whereas over here we have 24/7 water supply and electricity, and because of the extra time being available I have started to make Rida and sell it which I could not do it back in Bhendi Bazaar because of time constraints. We have been provided with individual toilets and that is a boon, we have been provided with carpet, furniture and geyser when we shifted to the camp. However, transport is a problem here because we have to walk till the main road to get a cab but I guess it is manageable.”
Facilities provided in the transit camp:
24/7 hours water and electricity
A water geyser, carpet and cupboard when the person shifts to the transit camp
Once the buildings are constructed in Bhendi Bazaar, the residents will be provided with a minimum area of 350 square feet carpet area with a kitchen and a bathroom
Free car parking facility
The camp has its own sewage treatment plant, solar panels and rainwater harvesting and garbage disposal units
Area available in basement to organise functions
Classrooms available for imparting religious knowledge
Development Control Regulation (DCR) 33(9), states, “Repairs and reconstruction of cessed buildings and Urban Renewal Scheme: For repairs and reconstruction of cessed buildings and Urban Renewal Scheme undertaken by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority or the Mumbai Housing and area Development Board or Corporation in the Island City, the Floor Space Index (FSI) shall be 4.00 or the FSI required for rehabilitation of existing tenants/ occupiers, whichever is more.”