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Mumbai and its surrounding areas offer a healthy mix of real estate options, which has been possible, largely due to the region’s infrastructure and connectivity. “If connectivity is improved, then it will be easy for people to travel to their workplace, even if they are staying in far-flung areas,” says Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director (PR), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). “We have plans to connect Mumbai to its far-flung suburbs, as well as Navi Mumbai. These projects will boost development in Navi Mumbai and parts of Raigad district. The aim, is to lessen the burden on the overcrowded city,” he explains.
The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL)
One such project, that could make a big impact, is the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL), also known as the Sewri-Nhava Sheva Trans Harbour Link. The project will involve a 22-km-long bridge, connecting Mumbai and Navi Mumbai and will cross the Thane Creek, north of Elephanta Island.
The sea link will contain a six-lane highway, which will be 27 metres wide. The link will have interchanges at Sewri in Mumbai and at Chirle on NH-4B in Navi Mumbai. At a recent Make in India initiative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) agreed to partially fund the project. The project is estimated to cost Rs 1,000 crores and is to be completed in 2019, although as of 2016, construction is yet to begin.
“With the objective of connectivity and convenience at its core, the MTHL will be a game-changer for the real estate sector,” feels Navin Makhija, MD of the Wadhwa Group.
It will definitely be a positive development, vis-à-vis infrastructure, he adds. There would be faster connectivity to the Konkan region and Navi Mumbai, including the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport, Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
“The bridge promises to deliver unprecedented connectivity and much-needed growth in the localities directly connected to it. Another project which will change how Mumbaikars commute, is the proposed coastal road that would offer connectivity between and along the suburbs,” points out Zaheer Majeed Memon, partner, Zara Habitats.
The Coastal Road project
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received the nod for its much-awaited Coastal Road project. The 33.2-km-long, eight-lane road, will link Nariman Point to Kandivali. It is hoped that this road will ease traffic, especially on the Western Express Highway. There are also plans to extend the road, from Kandivali, up to Mira Road and further on, to the NH8 that connects Mumbai to Ahmedabad. According to Jitendra Gupta, a transport consultant, “The construction of the road will not be an easy task. To improve connectivity and ease the huge congestion on roads, the government should focus and complete the work on time.”
CIDCO’s joint managing director, V Radha, maintains that the Navi Mumbai airport, which is planned to be commissioned by December 2019, will transform the area into a major commercial and residential hub. “Connectivity is the key to success. So, the plan is to connect both (Mumbai and Navi Mumbai) airports through metro rail and also have a link to Bandra-Kurla Complex,” Radha elaborates.
Hariprakash Pandey, senior vice-president – finance, HDIL, feels that the airport will have a positive impact on Navi Mumbai’s physical and social infrastructure, on the hospitality sector and increase job opportunities in the region. “A mere announcement of the Navi Mumbai airport, resulted in a boom in real estate prices in Navi Mumbai. Similarly, we expect property prices to increase, once the work on the airport begins,” he predicts.
Infrastructure projects boost connected property markets
Mayur Shah, managing director of the Marathon Group, maintains that “The airport and the MTHL, will result in increased commercial activity and will thus, play a greater role in transforming Navi Mumbai and other nearby suburbs.” Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson of the Nahar Group, concurs. “As these areas develop into major commercial hubs, it will attract people in search of job. Consequently, there will be huge demand for residential properties, along with the development of social infrastructure, such as malls, five-star hotels, schools, colleges, restaurants, hospitals, etc.,” she elaborates.
With property rates in the city becoming unaffordable, many home buyers opt for far-flung suburbs. Ramesh Nair, COO – business and international director, JLL India, points out that those living in the peripheral regions need to be able to reach the city’s larger workplaces and also get back home, in reasonable time. “By connecting the city’s workplace hubs with the outlying residential catchments, large infrastructure projects can make a huge difference. However, the problem is that most projects are delayed, far beyond their projected timelines. Implementation is the key – nothing works if it is solely on the drawing board,” he sums up.
- The proposed infrastructure projects, are likely to create job opportunities and attract more home buyers to the suburbs and Navi Mumbai.
- Numerous residential projects, are expected to come up around these projects.
- These projects could elevate the standard of living in the residential centres of the MMR and boost commercial developments.