Just as land is being acquired for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet train project, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led Mumbai Metro Region Development Authority (MMRDA) wants to control development of land around the corridor across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The agency has proposed that the state government expand its current jurisdiction and grant it the status of the special planning authority for land parcels beyond Virar in the extended suburbs.
The Mumbai station of the 507-kilometre-long Bullet train corridor is proposed to be built at the MMRDA-controlled Bandra Kurla Complex. In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the Centre has also proposed stations for the high-speed train at Thane, Virar, and Boisar.
Senior MMRDA officials feel that once the construction work for the corridors commences, the demand for urbanisation and development of land along the Virar-Palghar-Dahanu stretch will rise. At the moment, most of the land parcels in this belt are either agricultural land or no-development zones.
The MMRDA has proposed that it should be given SPA status for development of land on either side of the corridor between Virar and Dahanu. It has further proposed that its jurisdiction also be extended to include Pen and portions of Panvel and Raigad. Besides the bullet train project, the much-delayed Virar-Alibaug multi modal corridor is also being touted as a game changer in the region
Sources said the proposal is expected to get the nod of the CM-led executive authority of the MMRDA on Wednesday, following which it will be submitted to the state government for a final nod.
The SPA status, once accorded, will grant the MMRDA powers to regulate all construction works and development activities alongside the corridor. “The plan is to develop these land parcels. Besides residential development, these can be used to construct back offices and staff accomodation facilities for commercial units. There is a growing demand for such facilities in the MMR,” said a senior source.
“The Bullet train project proposes to cover the distance between Bandra to Dahanu within 20 minutes. With the travel time cut significantly, we expect real estate activity to intensify beyond Virar,” said another official.
But the MMRDA’s proposal is expected to face opposition from local bodies in the new belt, many of which are controlled by BJP’s warring ally, the Shiv Sena. Incidentally, the latter’s stance in this regard is expected to be known on Wednesday itself, since some senior Sena leaders are also part of the MMRDA’s executive body.
According to initial plans, the MMRDA is already thinking on the lines of building six commercial growth centres in the extended belt. The agency, which has been raising funds for infrastructure projects through auction of land parcels, also plans to develop smart residential townships in the region.
Lack of affordability of housing in Mumbai, suburbs and satellite townships has been dogging the construction sector. Officials feel the release of new developable land along the transportation corridors will also boost affordability of housing.