Cars, pedestrians, carts and motorcycles move down a congested street in Mumbai. (Photographer: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)

Mumbai’s Key Business District, Lower Parel, Is Now Gridlocked

What once housed spinning mills is now Mumbai's most densely populated business hub. And the strain is beginning to show.

Travel in and out of Lower Parel, home to India's biggest companies in central Mumbai, invariably leads to a gridlock. Short distances take more than an hour on most days.

“It's not just about sitting in traffic,” says Dharmesh Mehta, managing director and chief executive officer at Axis Capital. It nearly turned fatal at his office when one of his colleagues suffered a heart attack and had to be taken to hospital.

It took us 1 hour 45 minutes (to reach the hospital). By the time we reached the hospital, he had no pulse. Luckily, we were able to revive him on time. An ambulance, when called, said it would take at least an hour to reach our office. So, in an emergency, I don’t think anyone will survive.
Dharmesh Mehta, MD & CEO, Axis Capital 
Map of Lower Parel, red lines indicate traffic congestion

Lower Parel has limited points of entry. One of them, the Delisle Road bridge, was recently shut after an report by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, said it was dilapidated and dangerous. Official estimates of rebuilding the bridge are at least two years, but government agencies are still bickering over who will do it.

Also read: Meet The Man Who Shut Down One Of Mumbai’s Busiest Bridges

There was lack of foresight in permissions given to commercial buildings in Lower Parel, says RS Pasricha, former director general of Maharashtra Police. Pasricha, who headed the Mumbai Traffic Police in the 1980s, cited examples of how buildings came up in the area without the required infrastructure.

The authorities should have considered these requirements before allowing more constructions. So many buildings have come up in Saath Rasta and more are in the offing. A similar situation exists at Senapati Bapat Marg. Somebody should have barred construction in the absence of facilities like the metro, roads and flyovers.
PS Pasricha, Former DGP, Maharashtra 

Meanwhile, an online petition has surfaced asking the police to find ways to manage traffic in the congested area.

Watch the full interview here