Mumbai Got a Shiny New Airport

Renovation of an existing structure takes quite a lot of expertise and smart planning. It is not a walk in the park and perhaps, that is one of the reasons why Mumbai’s airport was not renovated for three decades until now. This Friday, the newly renovated terminal was shown off. The renovation cost is $890 million and the terminal has been decorated with modern architecture and Indian art, although on the outside it is still outlined by slums.

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Terminal 2 has been designed by the same NYC based firm that had the honor of designing San Francisco Airport and Changi International Airport; Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. This particular terminal has now more than enough to be proud of with the world’s longest cable stayed glass wall and world’s largest public art program in action.

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The downside to this superfluous terminal is the slums which surround it. For the expansion of airport, they took down about 300 acres of these slums. Now the inhabitants of these slums mainly rely on trash from Airport and the adjacent buildings and hotels for their survival. The main occupation being the collection of garbage bags that can be used for recycling. Over the past five years, there was enough to be collected and recycled that a large number of families have moved up the poverty line defined by World Bank – 22 rupees per day.

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According to one infrastructure expert one of the problems in delay of terminal was getting the slum cleared; ‘It’s an absolute microcosm, representing practically every challenge facing development of Indian infrastructure.’

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