Editorial Analysis || But the winner is Mumbai

• Every monsoon, a torrential downpour inundates parts of Mumbai, seriously disrupting the city’s normal life.

• “Who is accountable for this mess? Why shouldn’t heads roll?

• More pothole deaths than deaths by terror”, are questions and issues that are raised.

• Incompetent MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai), rampant corruption and the confusing governance architecture of the city.

• Comparison with cities such as London, New York, Singapore and Tokyo

• The economic and infrastructural efficiency of the cited cities and the quality of life they deliver to their citizens.

• In India, especially, inclusion and tolerance are at the top of the political and social agenda, eclipsing every other issue, including efficiency and quality of life.

• It so happens that on this benchmark, Mumbai emerges as the most tolerant and inclusive global city.
Since Independence, Mumbai has allowed free migration with open arms and permitted its population to swell without question.

Blueprints by Government

• The MCGM have a place for them — those already in the city can definitely adjust a bit for those from outside. And even better, the MCGM does not insist they have to pay municipal taxes if they choose to land up in slums, on footpaths or below flyovers.

• Mumbai is for free for close to 50 per cent of its population.

• The four other cities cited for comparison do not come anywhere close.

• Mumbai is home to 66 per cent Hindus, 21 per cent Muslims, five per cent Buddhists, four per cent Jains, three per cent Christians, 0.5 per cent Sikhs, and the rest from other religious groups, including one of the largest communities of Parsis and Jews.

• Unmatched by any other city is the regional and cultural diversity of Mumbai.

• Only 42 per cent are Maharashtrians and 19 per cent are Gujaratis.

• The rest of them are from the north, south, east, west, north-east and beyond.

• They speak their own languages (16 counted in the city) and communicate with others in the world’s first city-based language called “Mumbaiya Hindi”.

• They even organise their own pujas and festivals, with the “Chhath” constantly increasing in size.

• Mumbai has accommodated 13 million people at 35 square metres (sqm) per person.

• The MCGM has left 17 sqm open, five sqm for allowing movement and two sqm for miscellaneous purposes.

• The selfless Mumbaikar works in an average area of three sqm and lives in an average living area of eight sqm.

Comparison with other big cities

• On the other hand, London has a population of 8.7 million people in a geographical area almost four times that of Mumbai, each person consuming 180 sqm.

• New York has accommodated a population of 8.1 million in an area three times that of Mumbai at an average of 152 sqm per person.

• If we want to compare these cities to Mumbai, London should get 36.2 million more, New York an additional 26.6 million.

Conclusion

• Mumbai’s soul of inclusion does not stop at human beings.

• It is also home to a little more than one 1,00,000 street dogs, apart from pet dogs and cats owned by families and the thousands of buffaloes in the famed “tabelas” of Mumbai.

• The MCGM has reported in 2016 that between 1994 and 2015, about 1.3 million people had been bitten by street dogs in the city and had resulted in 434 deaths from rabies.

• Besides, at an estimated average of 180 kg of poop generated by an average dog per year.

• Mumbai exhibits extreme tolerance in accepting about 18,000 tonnes of poop per year on its streets, footpaths, gardens and any other place.

• We do not need an expert to tell us that unlimited inclusion on the one hand and efficiency and quality of life on the other do not go together.

• If one still wishes to contest this statement, stuff another city the way Mumbai is and then see what happens. That would be a fair comparison.