Mumbai's first 'Sea Food Plaza' empowers women & promotes sustainability; 30k footfall in 90 days

Mumbai's first 'Sea Food Plaza' empowers women & promotes sustainability; 30k footfall in 90 days

Expansion plans underway.

Mumbai's Mahim Beach has now become the centre of a culinary renaissance, since the introduction of a 'Sea Food Plaza' by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in November 2023. Set up on the seafront in Mahim Koliwada, this foodie hotspot is managed by Mahila Bachat Gat - a coalition of 14 women's Self Help Groups (SHGs) from the Koli community. Notably, the seafood plaza has quickly captured the attention of Mumbai foodies, welcoming 30,000 visitors within three months.

A rich array of Koli-style seafood delights

Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Arabian Sea, BMC's seafood plaza stands out as a beloved destination for food lovers, offering a rich array of Koli-style seafood delights. Run by 14 women's Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the BMC's Mahila Bal Kalyan Yojana, consisting of around 10 members, the stalls proudly exhibit the culinary expertise of the local Koli community. Initially launched as a 'Weekend Plaza', the popularity of the venue has surged speedily, attracting eager crowds on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

With an impressive footfall of over 30,000 visitors within just three months, Advocate Vedika Patil, the Community Development Officer for BMC, has also revealed plans to expand this operation. The expansion would meet the surging demands while increasing the possibility of making the plaza a daily occurrence.

Empowering women, promoting sustainability & ensuring stringent hygiene

BMC kick-started each SHG with an initial support package, including a revolving fund of around ₹25,000 and soft loans ranging from ₹5-10 lakh at a 7% interest rate. Rigorous directives have been put in place as well, to ensure compliance with stringent quality and hygiene standards, with provisions for seating, lighting, waste management, and customer service.

Male members, including the fishermen husbands of the SHG members, procure the daily catch from the nearby Arabian Sea in the mornings, while women meticulously clean, marinate, and prepare the seafood, ensuring it's ready for the night rush at the Sea Food Plaza.

Beyond its culinary delights, the plaza also serves as a beacon of empowerment for local women as well. Managed by the Mahila Bachat Gat, the seafood plaza offers employment opportunities, enabling these women to showcase their culinary skills and contribute to their families' livelihoods. This emphasis on gender inclusivity not only enriches the workforce but also fosters a sense of community, empowerment and sustainability among its members.

Buoyed by its resounding success, the BMC eyes expansion, envisioning similar initiatives at iconic beaches like Girgaum Chowpatty, Worli, Dadar, Juhu, Versova, Marve, and Gorai across Mumbai. Further, collaborations with platforms like Zomato, promise to extend the plaza's reach, ensuring that the delicacies reach a wider audience.

Enriching the recreational experience

Following the successful launch of the first seafood plaza at Mahim Beach, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now in the process of introducing a boat ride service connecting Worli and Mahim. Municipal authorities anticipate that this endeavour will bolster tourist appeal in both Mahim and Worli, enriching the recreational experience for visitors to these coastal locales.

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