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Puran Doshi's Fight Against Parking Near Gateway Shore

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By Author: Parth
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The Gateway of India is one of India’s most unique monumental landmarks which was built in the year 1924.
This massive monumental gate looks over the majestic Mumbai harbour which is bordered by the Arabian sea.

The Gateway of India, with its regal arches, stands guard facing the Arabian Sea at Apollo Bunder in bustling Colaba area of Mumbai. The most popular tourist attraction, it is the unofficial icon of the city of Mumbai and is a reminder of its rich colonial history as Bombay. The first structure to welcome visitors entering the city by sea, it is popularly called ‘Taj Mahal of Mumbai’. It stands at the end of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg at the water’s edge. Visited by tourists and locals alike, the gateway and its promenade affords a great view of the boat-studded sea and is the connecting point for boat rides to and from the famous Elephanta Caves. The ‘Elephanta Festival of music and dance’ which was earlier held at the Elephanta caves, is now held in front of the Gateway in March every year

The Gateway faces the vast Arabian Sea, flanked by Mumbai's another attraction, Marine Drive, a road running parallel to the sea. The majestic monument is a must-visit at night, in its pristine glory against the backdrop of the sea. It is visited by millions of people across the world every year and is a very significant figure in the lives of the people of Mumbai, as the Gateway defines the grandeur of the city that is a culmination of both, historic and modern cultural environment.

During the British Raj, the Gateway of India showcased the splendour of their establishment in India. It took approximately INR 21 lakhs to build this massive structure which was at the expense of the Indian government. It was built to celebrate King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to Mumbai. This beautiful structure, which was designed by George Wittet, took 4 years to complete the project.

This grand gate is a major tourist attraction in India, where tourists and photographers from across the world visit it to capture the beautiful landscape and surrounding. The Gateway of India is open to everyone 24 x 7. This is a place where we see families, couples and individuals spending time sitting by the Gateway for some peace and cool breeze even in the busiest of days around it.

As one of India’s heritage monuments, conserving it is pivotal. The Gateway provides a way to visit yet another unique tourist spot , the Elephanta Caves situated on an Island close to the Gateway of India. Motorboats help tourists in exploring the beauty of this islands and caves. The Gateway , which overlooks the vast blue blanket of the sea is a sight for the guests staying at one of India’s prestigious Taj Mahal Hotel which faces the monumental gate.

Over years, structures like these become weak and are exposed to a lot of wear and tear due to environmental changes, natural weathering, vandalism etc. The Gateway of India too is slowly falling victim to age, but at the same time its historical value is rising… As they say” Old is Gold!

The Gateway of India has a historical significance and a symbol of pride for the civilisation around it. The structure stands tall and looks strong, reminding the people of Mumbai , how strong and intense their culture and city is. In a nutshell, not only does The Gateway of India have a historical backbone but also an emotional sentiment which drives the people of the city.
This magnificent wonder must and should be taken care of to restore the spirit of Mumbai at all times.

Problems Faced by Gateway of India

Citing a total lack of parking space around the already overburdened Gateway of India, the Mumbai traffic police have returned the application submitted by the private company constructing the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s (MTDC) ‘Floatel’ — an ambitious project for a floating hotel off the coast of Mumbai — and asked the company to come up with solutions for the parking problems that it would create around south Mumbai.
The company, Chateau International Inc. Private Limited, had sought a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Traffic Police a month ago. The MTDC has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the company for the project. However, on Friday, the application was returned by BK Upadhyay, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) stating that the Floatel would increase the parking problems around Gateway of India.
According to Upadhyay, there is no space around the Gateway of India even for the vehicles of guests of the five-star hotels there on weekends.”The Floatel would be in water and guests would have to park their vehicles on the shore. There are at least 300 vehicles expected to come every weekend because of the floating hotel. There is no space to accommodate these many vehicles,” said Upadhyay.
Police personnel said on weekends, they have to ask the drivers of five-star hotels’ guests to park in the bylanes or drive in circles in the area till the guests exit the hotels, and that if the Floatel comes up, there would simply be too many vehicles to manage in south Mumbai.
“We have sent the application back without giving the NOC and asked the company to come up with solutions for this problem. If this problem is solved by the company, we will give the NOC for the Floatel,” Upadhyay added. In December 1996, the Union Environment Ministry had given clearance to Chateau International Inc. Private Limited to construct the ‘Floatel’ off Cuffe Parade in Mumbai. The project is being promoted by Ireland-based Deltic Management Company and Chateau International. It is to be located on a 26 hectare site leased from the Bombay Port Trust and comprises a 30-storey hotel and a 29-storey business centre. The lower deck of the hotel will house helicopters, a parking lot for 2,000 cars and infrastructure for the hotel. The project is to be connected to Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade through two undersea tunnels, a ropeway and a collapsible bridge.
The Bombay Environment Action Group (BEAG), a Mumbai-based environmental NGO, had fought the project tooth and nail when it was proposed. Apart from worsening the traffic congestion in south Mumbai, the floatel is also accused of threatening the livelihood of small fishermen in Mumbai.

According to Mr "Puran Doshi" secretary of Congress(I) & Ex Corporator, private cars should not be parked near Gateway shore because when the parked cars will move it will cause the soil to shake & will lead to soil erosion which will further threaten the existence of Gateway of India. His point is valid & if implemented can save the monument.

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