Mumbai- It was an eventful year for Mumbai. Plenty happened – some of it good, some of it not so good. Here’s a quick recap of how life changed for the average Mumbaikar this year.
1. Mumbai just got cleaner
You couldn't take the morning local without seeing squatters along railway tracks, and every time you passed Dharavi, you had to hold your nose. Till last year, only 37 per cent of slum dwellers had access to a public toilet. This year, the BMC set up one lakh public toilets, vigilance squads made their rounds, and Salman Khan became the brand ambassador for a clean city. On the star's birthday on December 27, the BMC declared the city a no defecation zone. You can now breathe easy.
2. Railways on the fast track -
Under the 'Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan' initiative, 21 Western Railway stations and 15 Central railway stations were beautified by various NGOs. Boards about the stations’ history were put up, walls were painted, and Selfie points were put up at every station.
In January, Mumbai Central became the first station in Mumbai to go wifi. Anyone with a mobile phone can use the high-speed facility free for the first 30 minutes. Other stations like Kurla, Byculla, Dadar and CST — also now enjoy this facility.
3. DeMo and the Mumbaikar -
Overnight, the Mumbaikar realised that the 'istriwala' and the 'doodhwala' could not be paid in cash, because cash suddenly went scarce after November 8. The Mumbaikar also learnt a new virtue - patience, standing patiently in long queues at ATMs, outside banks and in snaking lines at petrol pumps.
4. Women enter Haji Ali dargah -
After nearly five years, women won the right to re-enter the Haji Ali Dargah, situated on rocks off Worli in the Arabian Sea. Till June 2012, women were allowed entry upto the mazaar of Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. This October, after a Supreme Court directive asking the dargah trust to ensure equal access to all genders, women finally could enter the dargah again. Male and female devotees will now have separate entrances and get to pray nearly two metres away from the tomb.
5. Dhobi ghat no more -
Mumbai's iconic open air laundry that's been in business for several decades and has starred in various Bollywood and Hollywood films, is going away. The slums that dot the 14 acre plot on which it stands at Mahalakshmi will soon be a thing of the past. By 2019, there will be high risers to house the dhobis and their families, a multi storeyed building will house an indoor factory that will replace the washing and dryig ghats. What will be lost will be the gripping visual panorama that the dhobi ghat has been for decades. Dhobi ghat, the Mumbaikar will miss you.