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Update on February 4, 2019: The interim budget 2019 has made a provision of Rs 584 crores, for various phases of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP). The interim budget presented by finance minister Piyush Goyal, has allotted Rs 7,672 crores for the Central Railway in total, of which Rs 744 crores are for various transport projects. It will cover the Belapur-Seawood-Uran railway line project in the Mumbai region.
Transportation and connectivity are two key factors that home buyers keep in mind, while selecting a property. Consequently, areas that are well-connected to office hubs and market places, witness good demand. Recently, on November 11, 2018, the Central Railway (CR) opened up a 12-km corridor, which links Nerul and Belapur in Navi Mumbai with Kharkopar in Ulwe, much to the delight of the residents of Dronagiri and Ulwe. The corridor is the first phase of the 27-km Belapur-Uran corridor, which is being developed by the CR and the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). Phase 1 had already missed several deadlines, before regular services on this stretch finally started on November 12, 2018, helping to link Ulwe with Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Panvel on the harbour route, besides Thane on the trans-harbour corridor.
Nerul-Uran railway line: Project status
There are six stations on the new section – Nerul, Seawoods-Darave, Belapur, Targhar, Bamandongri and Kharkopar. At present, the CR will operate 40 services daily, of which 20 will run between Kharkopar and Nerul and the rest between Belapur and Kharkopar stations, at frequency of 30 minutes. Seawoods and Bamandongri are approximately five kms apart, while Kharkopar and Bamandongri are separated by a distance of 1.5 kms. Bamandongri and Kharkopar stations will have double discharge platforms, subways and refreshment facilities. Targhar station, which is being built at a cost of Rs 105 crores, will have an elevated car park. Of the total 27-km-long project, the stretch from Kharkopar to Uran will be another 15 kms. The total cost of the project is about Rs 1,782 crores. “The railway line will increase connectivity to southern Navi Mumbai and make it an economic hub. It will also give a boost to the airport project and housing market in the area,” said Prajakta Lavangare Varma, joint managing director, CIDCO.
Nerul-Ulwe trains to ease commuting woes of residents
The opening of the new railway route, will improve access to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA), fishing communities in the region and also connect Panvel, Pen, Roha and CSMT. According to senior CIDCO officials, the suburban line between Seawoods and Kharkopar will pass through the centre of Ulwe. Until now, residents would rely on Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) buses and share rickshaws from Seawoods, Vashi and CBD Belapur stations, to get to Ulwe and Dronagiri. However, the rickshaw services were available only till 8.30 pm, in both the areas. Now, people in Ulwe can choose between Bamandongri and Kharkopar, to take the local train till Seawoods station.
Residents, who have been living in this region for the past five years, are hence, an excited lot. “Every day, I used to spend nearly five to six hours, on commuting to my office. Now, the new service will reduce my travel time by two hours. Moreover, due to regular train services, we can even travel to different parts of the city now. At Rs 10, the fare is also reasonable,” explains Varun Bodade, a resident of Ulwe.
Recounting the difficulties that she faced in commuting to work, Savita Sharma, a resident of Dronagiri, adds: “Whenever I had an evening shift in my office, I used to face problems in getting back home. Due to limited transportation options, I used to get delayed every day. Looking at the security aspect, my family even asked me to consider resigning from my job. However, now, the train service will make things easier for many women from the area, to travel to offices in different parts of the city.”
Railway line to boost property market in Ulwe and Dronagiri
Property developers are also happy with the starting of the new railway line, with many saying that inquiries for properties in the region have risen and some even managing to close deals. Hence, they feel that home buyers will not only consider Ulwe and Dronagiri as investment options but also shift to the area, because of the improved connectivity.
Rajesh Prajapati, managing director of Prajapati Constructions Ltd, points out that the extended delay in the Belapur-Uran railway project, had forced many people to look at other regions, for buying their homes. “Hence, the starting of services on this line, comes at an ideal time, when home buyers and investors were getting nervous about the future of their investments. Now, we are expecting more buyers for projects in the area which have good connectivity due to the railway line. We have closed down four deals, since the day of launch of the train services and new queries are coming in each day. With this development, the real estate market will leap forward,” Prajapati maintains. “A majority of the people did not want to buy real estate in this area, because of the commuting issues. For the past one year, the market was sluggish but now, we are expecting the prices to go up,” concludes Naresh Nagare, a local property consultant.
Dronagiri: Upcoming infrastructure make it a safe but long-term bet
Numerous upcoming infrastructure projects make Dronagiri a region that offers excellent potential on investment. The only catch – investors will have to look at a long-term time frame of seven to eight years
August 21, 2017: Sangeeta Dubey bought a 2-BHK in Dronagiri and is happy with her decision. It was the only location in Navi Mumbai, where she could buy such a big house with her small budget. Dubey isn’t the only one, as this node’s planned infrastructure, has attracted quite a few investors. A senior official from the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) said that the agency ‘tried to correct all the mistakes that we made while developing Vashi, Ulwe and Kharghar, while designing the master plan for Dronagiri.’
Dronagiri, an upcoming suburb, is located 22 kms away from Vashi and about three kms from Uran. Residential areas in the node are located to the west and north-west, while the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) area and township are in its northern part.
Why is it becoming attractive for buyers?
According to Rajesh Prajapati, managing director of Prajapati Constructions Ltd, “The area has plenty to offer, to prospective home buyers. From close proximity to employment areas such as ONGC and JNPT, to Uran’s nearby scenic beach which makes for great weekend getaways, Dronagiri has it all.”
Also, due to its proximity to the port, this zone is ideal for commercial development. Properties in the region also have the potential to generate healthy rental income, as the area meets the ‘walk to work’ criteria. Dronagiri has several good under-construction properties and large-sized plots, which are ideal for gated communities and high-rises at affordable rates.
The area benefits from all the advantages that a planned city can have – broad and clean roads, power and water supply and the availability of hospitals, schools, colleges, supermarkets, banks and transport in the residential sectors. Moreover, it is only 10 kms away from the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport.
The Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), which aims to connect Mumbai and Navi Mumbai via a 22-km-long bridge, will land close to Dronagiri. The travel time on the link would be just 15 minutes. The railway project from Seawoods to Uran is under construction and one can also access south Mumbai from Mora. The node is already connected by road and it is also merely half-an-hour from Ballard Pier, by waterway.
Akshay Agarwal, director, Arihant Superstructures Ltd, is of the view that, “The economic and infrastructure projects like the JNPT SEZ and airport, are the biggest drivers for the region.” The development of the special economic zone by Reliance, is expected to attract more professionals to the area.
Demand for residential property is expected to increase, as people employed in these sectors will need to live in the immediate vicinity.
According to Nagesh Gharat, a real estate consultant from the area, “Several home buyers from Mumbai and Navi Mumbai have already started investing in properties in the area. They are attracted by the prospect that once companies start coming in, they will bring new employees to the area. All these employees are then expected to buy or rent properties here.”
The prices for flats, are in the range of Rs 3,700-4,800 per sq ft. Presently, construction projects are concentrated in sectors 15 and 47.
Property consultants advise that this is an ideal time to invest, as in the next two years, the inventory of under-construction properties will increase in all the sectors. Then, prices are likely to increase.
Issues of concern
Due to Dronagiri’s proximity to JNPT, there are many commercial vehicles on the roads, resulting in pollution.
Devesh Kumar who is searching for flat in Navi Mumbai said, “We did not like the location as we felt that it was not liveable. It is likely to remain so, for the next few years. Also, the roads are not safe.”
Another major concern, is the area’s social infrastructure, which is average. There is only one shopping mall and other facilities are also at a basic level. “It will take some time for the area to develop. If you can wait for another seven to eight years, then this place is worth investing,” concludes Prakash Awadh, a local developer.