Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Nov 26, 2004
Industry & Economy - Infrastructure
Modern Shanghai towers way above Mumbai
TALE OF TWO CITIES: The skylines of Mumbai (top) and Shanghai.
Mumbai , Nov. 25
IN Mumbai, one often hears a comparison of the city to Shanghai in China. But as soon as a Mumbaiite steps off the aircraft at Pu Dong airport in Shanghai the visitor realises that the comparison is not right.
The sight of an extremely modern airport is indication enough that China has positioned Shanghai as its gateway into the country.
The next thing you encounter is Maglev - Magnetic Levitation Train - the fastest rail system in the world, zipping across Shanghai at a maximum speed of 431 km per hour. A distance that would take at least an hour and a half by normal means of transportation takes all of seven minutes.
Shanghai is clearly a city of high-rise buildings. The city's skyline is dotted with buildings that tower to heights that is yet to become commonplace in Mumbai.
Barring a row of colonial buildings built in the earlier part of the 20th century, much of Shanghai has been rebuilt; the old two-storey shop houses and buildings have given way to towering high-rises. And from atop the Oriental Pearl TV Tower building, Shanghai is a concrete jungle; no greenery or sea visible as far as eye can see.
There are more of high-rises to come, says the local guide, Mr Liu Hao. "In about two years' time the remaining old buildings will be torn down for more skyscrapers," he says. Of course, Shanghai has retained some of the shop houses and old buildings as a part of the tourist attraction.
In terms of weather, Shanghai would be the clear preference over Mumbai as temperatures are moderate, never touching the extremes.
Yet there is some historical similarity between Shanghai and Mumbai - Shanghai was a fishing village some 700 years ago. It sits on the delta of the Yangtze river. As for Mumbai, some 2,000 years ago it was an archipelago of seven islands inhabited by kolis, fishing community.
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