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Bhiwandi ( ) is a city, in the district of Thanemarker, in the western state of Maharashtramarker, in Indiamarker, located 50 km to the north-east of Mumbaimarker and 15 km to the north-east of Thanemarker city. The exact location of Bhiwandi is .

Bhiwandi city, the headquarters of the taluka of Bhiwandi, comes under the administration of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation. The city is considered a part of the Greater Mumbaimarker metropolitan agglomeration, along with Navi Mumbaimarker and the cities of Kalyanmarker, Thanemarker, Ulhasnagarmarker, Dombivlimarker, Mira-Bhayandarmarker, Karjatmarker and the Vasai-Virarmarker region. According to the 2001 census, the total population of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation area was 598,703.

The city of Bhiwandi, known for its textile industry, has the largest number of powerlooms in the country and is sometimes dubbed as 'The Manchester of India' . A major portion of the population is employed by the powerloom sector. The Mumbai-Agra highway (NH-3), passing through Bhiwandi ensures the smooth connectivity of the city with Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and the rest of India.

History

In the early Twentieth century, Bhiwandi was a small town, inhabited by Maharashtrians and Konkani Muslims. The main occupation of the people at that time was agriculture, fishing and handlooms. With the advent of electricity, the handlooms began to be quickly replaced by powerlooms. It became a hub of the textile industry in the 1930s. The credit for turning Bhiwandi into a textile city goes to one Haji Abdus Samad, an illiterate trader from Uttar Pradeshmarker. "Sona becho aur loha kharido (sell gold and buy iron)" was his slogan.

Geography

Bhiwandi lies in the Konkan coastal lowlands. There are many hills surrounding Bhiwandi, which add to its scenic beauty. The average elevation is 24 m. The Varhal Devi Lake is the largest lake in Bhiwandi.

Economy

The economy of Bhiwandi is mostly dependent on the powerloom industry. The decline of Mumbai's textile mills spurred the growth of the powerloom sector. In order to meet the demand for grey fabric, powerloom centres sprang up in various parts of the State. Textile and migrant workers came in droves to find work at these centres. Bhiwandi became the largest powerloom centre in the country. The State government estimates that over 40 lakh people are dependent directly or indirectly on the looms of Bhiwandi.

Bhiwandi is the `mother godown' for several industries and the nodal up-country booking and transit point for several goods transporters owing to the octroi benefits that can be availed of there. The biggest names in the pharma company have their godowns here.

Transport

Intra-City Transport

The main mode of transport within Bhiwandi is the auto-rickshaw. Rickshaws, as they are called, are omnipresent in this city and can be seen everywhere. They run on various arterial routes that wind their way through Bhiwandi. The rickshaws here do not use the meter system, like Thane and Mumbai, but basically operate on a stop-to-stop system. Pre-defined stops have been determined on every arterial route and the minimum fare between two stops is Rs 5. If a person wants to take a rickshaw to address lying on routes other than the predefined routes then the fares are determined by the driver but are open for bargaining.

There are no intra-city buses as of now running within the city, but the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation is planning a bus system soon. There are also bus service provided by Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) from Thane station to Narpoli.

Inter-City Transport

Road
Bhiwandi is well connected with the rest of the country thanks to the Mumbai-Agra Highway (National Highway-3), which passes through it. The highway is one the most important in the country and as a result there is a heavy flow of traffic through Bhiwandi, consisting of passenger cars as well as the 18-wheel giant tractor trailers. Two flyovers have been constructed on this highway to smooth traffic. In view of distributing some of the traffic which does not have to make a stop in Bhiwandi, an alternate subsidiary road, commonly and appropriately called the Bhiwandi-bypass was built. This 4 lane, well maintained subsidiary road, breaks off from the main highway, in Thane, and meets the highway again, 6 km to the north of Bhiwandi, near Shangri-la resort.

The Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) runs bus services to various cities in the state as well as neighbouring states. The Bhiwandi ST (State Transport) Depot is located on the Mumbai-Agra Highway. Buses run every half hour to nearby depots like Mumbai-Central, Thane, Kalyan, Vasai, Wada and Borivli. The Thane Municipal Transport operates bus services from Bhiwandi to Thane, and the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Transport operates bus services from Bhiwandi to Kalyan, every 20 minutes. Auto-rickshaws too, run from Bhwandi to Thane and Kalyan. Jeeps ply from Bhiwandi to the nearby town of Padgha.

There is also a private car service that runs between Bhiwandi and Mumbai. It basically caters to the need of businessmen who visit the textile market located in the Kalbadevi area of Mumbai. A minimum of 40 cars make a round trip of Mumbai every day, carrying 10 passengers on every trip.

Railway
The Bhiwandi Road Station (code BIRD) lies on the Vasai-Diwa corridor, between the western line and central line. An EMU service runs from Diwa to Vasai. Many mail trains make a stop here. Recently computerised reservation service was installed at this station, before which people had to go to Kalyan to get there tickets.

There is a necessity for a suburban rail line for Bhiwandi. The Metro Rail Corporation plans to connect the Thane-Kalyan line through Bhiwandi.

Air
The nearest airport from Bhiwandi is the Mumbai International and Domestic Airport at a distance of around 40 km. Another International Airport is under construction in Navi Mumbaimarker at Panvelmarker.

Demographics

As of 2008 India census, Bhiwandi has an estimated population of 804,703. Males constitute 61% of the population and females 39%. Bhiwandi has an average literacy rate of 66%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy at 72% and female literacy at 56%. 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.

References




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