September 21, 2019 2:21:11 am
WHEN IT was originally conceptualised in 2014, the Navi Mumbai Influence Notified Area (NAINA) was promoted as India’s largest planned city, even bigger than Mumbai and its suburbs together.
But now that the new city’s development plan has finally been sanctioned, it appears to have been considerably shrunk — it is only slightly more than half its planned size.
Planned to come up around a radial distance of about 25 km from the proposed international airport at Navi Mumbai, it was originally expected to be spread over 600 sq km or 60,000 hectare. But according to the development plan sanctioned by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis earlier this week, it will now come up on just over a 334-sq km plot.
However, NAINA will still be bigger than Navi Mumbai (320 sq km). While the original idea was to undertake urban development of 308 villages in the six talukas , this has now come down to 175 villages. The Fadnavis-led urban development department sanctioned NAINA’s plan on September 16. The proposal was submitted to it in July 2017 by the state-run City and Industrial Development of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO), appointed as the special planning authority for NAINA.
But the plan was approved after removing 49 villages — 35 in Khalapur tehsil and 14 in Thane. These villages accounted for an area of 103 sq km.
In 2016, the government excluded another 84 villages in Panvel and Khalapur tehsils.
CIDCO Vice-chairperson and MP, Lokesh Chandra, supported the exclusions. “…Areas that weren’t contiguous or were located along the road corridors being developed by the MSRDC were deleted so that these can be independently developed…”
NAINA was originally planned to house a population of 15 lakh in the next 20 years. But CIDCO’s chief planner (NAINA) V Venugopal said they had already “planned for a much larger carrying capacity”.
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