Mumbai 'Times Square' proposal draws criticism

The plan hits all the right economic notes, but some say it may violate building codes in historic areas


IT was a bold, if somewhat mystifying, proposal.

In an effort to bolster tourism, India's new central government laid out plans last month to transform parts of one of Mumbai's oldest and most charming neighbourhoods into a "cultural hub". The inspiration: Times Square in New York City.

The details of the planned renewal of Kala Ghoda, which means "black horse" in Hindi, read like a blueprint for an ersatz replica. A massive video screen and a 15-foot Indian flag would loom over the neighbourhood's maze of century-old buildings and the occasional historic monument. Tourists could snap selfies with costumed film and cartoon characters. The hubbub would be streamed live online.

"We'll have a...

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