Life in Chembur: Queen of the eastern suburbs but pollution a concern

Kala Suresh, a freelance business communication trainer and a resident of Mumbai’s Chembur for 20 years, shares her experience of living in what she calls the ‘queen of the eastern suburbs’

For home buyers, especially in Mumbai, the locality where one chooses to live, has a major impact on one’s lifestyle, says Kala Suresh, a freelance business communication trainer. Suresh has been a resident of Chembur, for the past 20 years. Suresh shifted into a two-BHK flat, located between Diamond Garden and Sandu Garden, after 18 years of living near Indian Oil Nagar, Deonar.

“I bought my house in Chembur’s Sanduwadi area, as it offers everything to its residents. I consider Chembur as the ‘queen of the eastern suburbs’.

“Chembur is to the eastern suburbs, what Bandra is to the western suburbs,” says Suresh. Chembur has grown by leaps and bounds, from being a small suburb located at Trombay in the 1940s, to one of the busiest and truly cosmopolitan localities today, with a railway station that is more than 100 years old, adds Suresh.

Key infrastructure projects boost Chembur’s connectivity

“Earlier the area was a forest land and because of this, we still have a good cover of trees. The arrival of some key infrastructure projects in the recent past, has boosted the importance of the area in a way rarely seen in the city.

“The area is well-connected to all the important locations of Mumbai – south Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, central Mumbai and now to western suburbs, as well. The opening of the Eastern Freeway and the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), have also made commuting easier. Chembur also has monorail services, in addition to train and bus services, as well as easy availability of auto rickshaws,” she explains.

See also: Chembur: From an industrial suburb to a prime property market

Other benefits of living in Chembur, according to Suresh, include:

“Shopping: I cannot think of anything that is not available in Chembur market and that too, at reasonable prices. We also have showrooms of all the best brands.

Banks and financial institutions: Central Avenue Road is perhaps one of the unique streets in India, owing to the number of banks and their ATMs within a stretch of one kilometre, from Chembur station to Diamond Garden.

Places of worship: Places of worship, such as Ahobila Mutt and Bhulingeshwar Temple, are even visited by people from other areas.

Dining: Good eateries include like Saroj, Sadguru, Maharana Kamat, Jhama sweets and Theobroma, apart from many other coffee and cake shops. The area has good street food, as well as some of the best fine dining restaurants. One can get Amritsari chole kulche and Sindhi dal pakhwan to jalebis and other deserts in Chembur Camp area and chaat items at Gupta Bhel and vada-paav near Chembur station area.

Educational institutions: Chembur has numerous schools and colleges. My daughter went to St Anthony’s School, which is one of the best schools in the area.

Avenues for recreation: Chembur has the K Star mall and cinema halls, open spaces like Diamond Garden and Gandhi Maidan and several good banquet halls. Chembur Fine Arts promotes cultural activities. Sports and cultural activities are also held at Chembur Gymkhana, Chedda Nagar Gymkhana and Sindhi Society Gymkhana. Every year this suburb also hosts the ‘Chembur festival’, along the lines of the Kala Ghoda and Bandra festivals, showcasing its rich art and culture.”

Property prices and the trend of redevelopment in Chembur

Chembur is also a hotspot for redevelopment, with several classy buildings coming up in and around Central Avenue Road and Diamond Garden, points out Suresh. This was one of the reasons why her family decided to move into a residence near Diamond Garden, she reveals.

“The increase in property prices here, is proof that the area is very much in demand. Today, properties around Central Avenue Road, Diamond Garden, Sandu Garden and Ambedkar Garden cost a fortune. Prices have appreciated by more than seven times, since 2000. With plans for a metro connectivity and other infrastructure development plans, prices will only appreciate further, although the region may become congested,” she maintains.

What are the negatives of the region? “There is no place in Mumbai which does not have issues like traffic and potholed roads and Chembur is no different. Chembur is also known as a ‘gas chamber’, as there are so many refineries and fertiliser manufacturing plants in its vicinity.

“Pollution from the Deonar dumping ground has also been an issue of concern for long but we feel that there could be a solution for it soon. However, I am convinced that we will not get a better place anywhere else, for the money we have invested,” concludes Suresh.

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