Living in a teeming concrete jungle of around 20 million people is bound to come with its share of problems. But what problems in particular? The Hindustan Times undertook a survey to find out, and published the results in the Sunday edition of the paper today.
Apparently, water shortages and the high cost of living are the biggest problems faced by Mumbai’s residents. 75% and 67% of people are concerned about these issues, respectively. What’s more, nearly 40% of residents say that their water supply situation has deteriorated, and only 13% of residents think that the city’s water supply situation will improve in the future. It’s a glum prognosis, but not surprising.
Although, thankfully, there isn’t a water shortage where I’m living now, there certainly was in my previous neighbourhood of Kandivali West. When we moved into our apartment there, we had 24 hour water supply. When we moved out, we were only getting water for a few hours, three times a day. It wasn’t pleasant.
Housing prices, which are on par with those of New York City, are also shocking. You get very little for your money in Mumbai. Overall, 30% of people said they couldn’t consider buying a home at current prices, and 53% said they could but only on the outskirts of the city. It’s that bad! We’re lucky we have our foot in the market. We own a 1 BHK in Malad West, which we bought off my husband’s sister and brother in law. The really positive thing is that it’s in an older complex that will get redeveloped in the future. For now, we’re content renting it out to people who work in the nearby call centres.
Other important future issues that Mumbai is facing are infrastructure and education. While most Indian cities have infrastructure problems, many people felt that not enough is being done to systematically address them in Mumbai. New developments are being carried out in a haphazard manner, for example the skywalks — many of which are barely being utilised. Where education is concerned, only 38% of people thought that the quality had improved. Over 50% thought it had decreased, and high admission prices were identified as a particular issue. “Donations” are often required to be given to schools for children to secure a place.
But, surely Mumbai must have plenty in its favour for so many people to keep living there. The most frequently cited factors why people are proud of Mumbai were Bollywood, entrepreneurship, and cosmopolitanism. I’d certainly agree with that. Mumbai is also considered to be a relatively safe city for women.
Taking into account all aspects of life in Mumbai, 43% of people rated the quality of life as good and 17% thought it was excellent. Only 2% found it to be poor. And given an option, 66% of people said they’d want to stay in Mumbai. Only 4% wanted to relocate to a different city. The remainder weren’t sure. I’m one of those who are happy to stay!
Photo of Mumbai (Hiranandani Gardens) skyline courtesy of Deepak Gupta.