The seizure of Cassette in 1774, the collapse of Maratha power in 1818, the opening of the Bhorghat to Pune in 1830, the opening of steamer service through Suez Canal in 1843 and the opening of the first railway track of 32 km in 1853 between Mumbai and Thane were the heydays in the history of the development of Mumbai. Today it is the largest industrial conurbation in the country.
The growth of this region is intimately connected with the history of the development of cotton textile industry in India. The natural port facilities provided the best stimulant for the export of raw cotton to Hongkong; later the industries were started in the Mumbai region itself to export finished cotton goods. Being far removed from the country's coal belt it had to develop its hydel power in the Western Ghats (Tata hydel power stations at Khopali, Bhivpuri, Bhiraand Koyna; thermal power station at Choi near Kalyan; and atomic power plants at Trombay and Tarapur).
The coastal district of Ratnagiri provided skilled and unskilled labour at the initial stages of development. The Thai Ghat and Bhor Ghat provided vital connecting links with the rest of the peninsular hinterland in the leeward side of the Western Ghats. This hinterland of Mumbai was rich in cotton culivation and naturally there is no wonder why it has become the present 'cotton polis' of India.
Mumbai-Pune two cities constitute a functional economic region despite the distance separating their centers. A fast electrified rail-line connects them, and Pune is inevitably drawn within Mumbai's dominance. The region is much involved in the textile industry which occupies 42 per cent of the total factory workers. Of the remaining workers 20 per cent are engaged in...