Coordinates: 19°15′00″N 72°46′55″E / 19.250057°N
72.782021°E / 19.250057; 72.782021
Fishing boats near Gorai
Gorai is a village in Dharavi Bhet, the North-western part of the
Salsette near Mumbai, India.
Gorai is accessed more usually
by a ferry crossing the
Manori Creek or otherwise by the overland
route through Bhayander.
Gorai is bordered by the villages of Manori
and Uttan, Pali, Chowk, Dongri, Tarodi, Rai, Morva and Murdhe.
Until the 1980s,
Gorai was known for its clean beaches and palm trees.
However, with the increase in pollution around Mumbai, the Arabian Sea
is unfit for swimming although
Gorai is less polluted than the other
beaches in Mumbai.
Gorai still enjoys its calm, laid back charm quite
in contrast to the fast-paced life of the city just on the other side
of the creek. Bullock carts are still in use here and the area suffers
from a water shortage but with real-estate developers steadily
bulldozing their way into this prized suburban tract, the physical and
cultural fabric of the villagers of
Gorai is now quite endangered.
Essel World amusement park has been set up in part of Gorai, by
expropriating lands from the
East Indians without a fair compensation
and in the teeth of their protests.
Essel World promised to build a
school, dispensary and give jobs to the locals of Gorai. None of these
have materialized. The Global Vipassana Pagoda, featuring the
tallest pillar-less dome in the world, a place for meditation, is
built on 13 acres of land near Gorai. It is similar in shape to the
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda
1 Dharavi Island
2 Portuguese history
3 Major issues facing Gorai
3.1 Ecological degradation
3.2 Toxic waste dumping
Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
4 New Gorai
5 Education in Gorai
1893 map of
Salsette Island showing Dharavi Island at top Left corner
The peninsula protruding off the north-west of
Salsette island known
as Dharavi Bhet once used to be an island called Dharavi, part of a
group of Islands off the
Salsette coast separated by the
that connected to the Vasai Creek. Vesava, Marve and Rai Murdhe were
the names of the other islands. These islands remained separate till
as late as 1825 when Col. Jervis's map showed the west coast of
Salsette broken into eight large and four small islands. In 1882, one
could walk across the tidal inlets during low tides to reach these
islands.The island of Dharavi, however, had to be reached by a
boat. However, with the building of the railways over the
Ghodbunder Creek, and with successive urbanization and reclamation of
the tidal inlets, the Island is now effectively a peninsula attached
Salsette Island. North Dharavi Island which falls in the Thane
district while the south is included in the
Mumbai Suburban District.
The aesthetically appealing Dharavi Bhet is rich in resources and is a
tourist attraction. The population of the 10 villages of Dharavi Bhet
is approximately 1,50,000. 60% of these are fisherfolk who own
approximately 4000 small and big fishing boats. Fish worth 25 crore
rupees is exported annually. Moreover, there are 7 fishworker's
government organisations that have worked for the progress and
development of the community that is under threat of being displaced.
About 25% of the people from the 10 villages are occupied in
agriculture. Along with rice, the farmers grow a variety of crops
including vegetables and pulses. The area is famed for its mango and
coconut plantations. Vegetables and fruits are consumed by the
Mumbai city. The people of Rai, Morva and Murdha villages
harvest salt from salt water pans. This salt pan industry is
responsible for providing employment to thousands of workers.
Gorai has a large East Indian population.
East Indians are Roman
Catholics who were baptized by the Portuguese when they arrived here
in the 16th century.
Gorai has three churches. The oldest one, Reis
Magos or the Three Magi, on the banks of the Vairalla Tank located on
the north border of Gorai, was built by the Franciscan missionaries
between 1595 & 1602. The newer parish church, also named after
the Three Magi, was built in 1810, and is located about
three-quarters of a mile to the south of the ruined, original parish
church. The third is the Infant Jesus Chapel built near the ruins of
the old church.
Major issues facing Gorai
Mumbai expands frantically, rapid urbanisation and real estate
development has started in the hinterland of Dharavi Bhet. Hectic
construction has reduced open spaces, green cover and increase
pollution, including untreated sewage, chemical effluents, and
garbage. Mangroves have sometimes been destroyed deliberately for
construction. Rainfall is now erratic and unpredictable, and more
often, occurs in short and intense spells. Land temperatures are
rising. Sea surface temperatures are also increasing because of which
there are more stormy winds particularly in October and November.
Coastal waters off
Mumbai are rising at 0.3 degrees per decade. The
sea level of the
Mumbai coast is rising at an average of 1.2 mm a
Gorai together, the average annual fish catch
dropped from 18,400 tonnes for the five-year period from 1994-95 to
98-99 to 13,354 tonnes for the period 2004-05 to 2008-09.
Toxic waste dumping
Villagers of Uttan, Palkhadi, Talavli, Anandnagar, Dongri, Tarodi,
Pali, Chowk, and Morva are protesting the unbearable stench and havoc
caused by the operators of the massive dumping grounds sitting atop
the Dhavgi Hill right in the center of the nine villages. This dumping
ground is set up on Collectors land that was transferred to the Mira
Bhayander Municipal Corporation who in turn has leased it for a period
of 30 years to a private garbage disposal company. Though the civic
body claims to spray chemicals to keep away the stink, villagers say
that the foul smell is getting unbearable and leading to health issues
among the residents.
Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
An SEZ has been proposed by the Pan
India Paryatan Ltd (Essel Group)
that own and operate an amusement park near
Gorai that would take over
the land of
Gorai village, and nearly the entire Dharavi Island. Of
the total area being acquired for the SEZ, around 160.78 Ha land is
village settlement area. With increase in population due to
urbanisation, people settled on their farm lands and some fisherfolk
moved into land owned by Port Trust. The earlier uneducated
generations did not see the need to have the land ownership documents
transferred onto their names. Hence many families do not have land and
title documents to claim ownership of the land in which they have been
living for generations together. Many villages also have resource rich
hills. These hills have provided livelihood for a lot of the adivasi
populations that live on them. All this will be acquired, rendering
the adivasis homeless and destitute. About 95 Hectares of land around
the Dharavi Bhet area is a bay and is the mainstay of the fisherfolk,
agadi and the adivasi community. This falls under the Coastal
Regulation Zone. About 2557 Hectares of the total land in the Dharavi
Bhet is a heavy mangrove forest ecosystem that is important to sustain
an environmental balance. Destroying mangrove land to create a cement
and concrete jungle will harm the environment considerably.
Gorai is a 25-minute travel by road from Borivali(West) and has
become a major residential area because of its easy accessibility from
the western suburb. There are many schools, colleges, hospitals, parks
& gardens built here.
There is a new fish market setup near the
Half a century old Cross has been renovated.
Education in Gorai
Swami Vivekanand International School (S.V.I.S)
St. Rock's High School
Dr. Pillai Global Academy
Suvidya Prasarak Sangh's Suvidyalaya
Madhusudhan Global School
Belvedere Spring School
HVPS International School
S K English School
J J Academy
^ a b "
Gorai SEZ- Salient features of Dharavi Island". Gordon D'Souza,
Christian Spotlight. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
^ "East Indian settlements threatened". The Times of India. 30 October
2001. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
Global Vipassana Pagoda
Global Vipassana Pagoda inaugurated in Mumbai". DNA. 8 February
2009. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
^ "Geography -
Salsette group of Islands". Maharashtra State
Gazetteer, Greater Bombay district. 1987. Retrieved 25 March
^ a b "The Anti- SEZ Movement in India" (PDF). Dr. Sampat Kale.
Retrieved 25 March 2012.
^ [Meersman, 1971, p. 204]
^ [Hull, Vol. I, p. 10]
^ "Major issues facing Dharavi Bhet" (PDF). Centre for Education and
Documentation. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
^ "Villagers protest
Uttan dumping ground". The Times of India. 9
October 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
^ "Residents of suburban
Mumbai protest against dumping ground".
Rediff.com. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 27