How is Bhendi Bazaar becoming safer for Mumbai monsoons?

As the monsoon nears conclusion, along with vibrancy and positivity, it leaves behind devastation and disturbance caused due to building collapses. Ahead of the monsoons, this year the BMC proactively identified and marked 337 dilapidated buildings across Mumbai to avert any tragic incidents. However, some dilapidated structures were beyond repair and succumbed to the rains. Posing threats on human lives every year, the monsoons reinstate the critical need for restoration and redevelopment.

Bhendi Bazaar’s vulnerability to heavy rains

One such iconic locality, Bhendi Bazaar, nestled in South Mumbai, faced significant challenges during the monsoons in the past. With its narrow alleyways and historical structures, the neighbourhood was particularly vulnerable to heavy rains. Inadequate drainage systems and aged buildings led to collapses, threatening the safety of residents and pedestrians.

A cluster-based redevelopment project

However, in recent years, the narrative has changed. A cluster-based redevelopment project was initiated by a Dawoodi Bohra Trust – Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) – to ensure that Bhendi Bazaar withstands the monsoons’ challenges and thrives. Established in 2009, the 16.5-acre project is transforming the area into a model of urban rejuvenation, blending tradition and modernity.

Creating a resilient community with a robust infrastructure

The aim is to create a resilient community that is future-ready and can protect itself against natural disasters. One of the key factors in this transformation is the emphasis on robust infrastructure. The ageing buildings are being replaced with state-of-the-art, high-rise structures that adhere to modern construction standards. These buildings are designed to withstand the rigours of heavy rains and flooding, ensuring the safety of the residents. Reinforced foundations, waterproofing measures and improved drainage systems are being integrated into the new structures.

The Al Sa’adah Towers

A strong example of this is the Al Sa’adah Towers. The SBUT completed the construction of these towers in 2020 as part of Phase 1 of the redevelopment and moved back the tenants as the owners. These residents were provided with safe, secure and clean living spaces packed with modern amenities and facilities.

Challenges faced and the way ahead

However, this transformation faced several challenges. Integrating the old cultural environment with modern facilities, addressing the needs of a diverse community and navigating logistical complexities were part of the process. Hence, the monsoon season is now being approached with a renewed sense of confidence. The revamped drainage systems efficiently manage rainwater, while preventing waterlogging and subsequent damages. As a result, this year Bhendi Bazaar did not report any building collapse or infrastructure-related issues.

Through such efforts, Bhendi Bazaar is becoming safer for the Mumbai monsoons while safeguarding the lives of its residents.