How that 1970s promise translated to reality circa the 21st, I don't know enough to say. (Here's a confession: my first visit to Vashi since those 1970s days, apart from speeding past on the highway, was in May this year). Whether that promise should have translated to reality at all is another question worth thinking about.
New Bombay is, of course, now Navi Mumbai.
Our planners have addressed themselves to their task with the object of setting up a community of citizens. Their emphasis is on convenience in living and travelling to work, on economy in the use of resources -- land, building materials, money or whatever else -- and on reducing the glaring disparities that often make urban living in our situation of shortages intolerable, particularly for the vast majority that is under-privileged. With this emphasis our planners have kept constantly in view the limitation on the resources likely to be available for city-building. If there was a temptation to plan a city of architectural grandeur, our planners have steadfastly resisted it. The effort has been to avoid the spectacular, to provide minimally for the affluent few and to promote the convenience of the greatest number. New Bombay, then, will not be another Grand City; it will be a city where the common man would like to live.
This is the orientation the planners have chosen; it is a choice that few responsible persons will question. Yet -- and this is the awesome side of the planning function for a task of this size -- there is so much opportunity for error in the translation of this choice into a land use plan, into a transportation system, into the innumerable options that the planners have to take in the course of their work. Errors in these options can have disastrous results reaching far into the future, as so many of us who live in cities know to our cost. It is for this reason that this plan proposes to keep as many options open as possible, instead of laying down detailed prescriptions for the entire plan area.
There are several concepts and policies implicit in this document that call for vigorous debate.
These are a few of the many aspects of the plan that merit consideration and discussion by the wider public body. Some of these features are being tried out in the projects chosen for early development, such as the residential estate at Vashi, already under construction, and the Belapur node of New Bombay's CBD, where work is just beginning. We may therefore be able to assess their utility in practice.