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When Hitesh Maniyar, a resident of Andheri, Mumbai, was on the lookout for a weekend home, his biggest concern was its location, as he planned to shift to Navi Mumbai in a few years. Hence, he wanted a holiday home destination that was at an equal distance from both the places, with good connectivity. A local property agent suggested that he consider Karjat. “Initially, I was under the impression that Karjat was merely an affordable destination for first homes, beyond Thane. After thorough research, I realised that Karjat was an ideal location for my second home,” Maniyar recounted.
Connectivity and locational advantage
Karjat has traditionally been viewed as a holiday home destination, due to its natural beauty.
It is located 90 kms from Mumbai, 60 kms from Thane and 40 kms from Navi Mumbai. It is also connected to Mumbai’s railway network. In terms of road connectivity, the Badlapur-Neral-Karjat road is being developed from a two-lane to a four-lane highway. Also, the Karjat-Murbad Road is now a four-lane highway and part of the Virar-Murbad-Karjat-Khopoli-Alibaug Outer Ring Road.
From a location for holiday homes, Karjat is now evolving into a property hotspot for first homes as well, with many farm houses and residential colonies situated here. The region also has decent civic amenities and a municipal corporation. Many people from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Pune, already own second or weekend homes in Karjat.
Advantages of Karjat as a destination
Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson of the Nahar Group, points out that even those who do not have property investments here, prefer to visit for weekend holidays. “Tourism, adventure sports, higher education, film shooting, retailing, nurseries and plantation and spa and hospitality, are the main occupations in this region. Karjat has several tourist attractions in its vicinity, including Palasdari, Matheran, Khandala, Bhimashankar, Malshej Ghat, etc.,” says Yagnik.
Karjat has an advanced bio-tech institute, which develops hybrid varieties of rice, apart from other crops and techniques. The region also has engineering, pharmacy, medical, management and hospitality colleges, and a mass media advertising institute (AICAR), which is affiliated to the AICTE and University of Mumbai, as well as several other colleges and schools.
Art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s ‘ND Studio’, is located near Karjat’s entrance via Chowk Phata. White Feather Films and Hollywood production companies, such as Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney and Dream Works (with Reliance Big Studio) also plan to set up their production facilities here.
Property prices in Karjat
While the prices in Karjat’s residential real estate market, are presently in the range of Rs 2,400-2,800 per sq ft, there is ample scope for appreciation, owing to the proposed infrastructure developments.
According to Prabhat Ranjan, managing director of Olympeo Infrastructure, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and Ulhasnagar are nearing a saturation point. Consequently, people working in these areas are now looking to buy houses at affordable rates in the Karjat-Neral belt.
“Connectivity is improving fast and home buyers can buy a 1-BHK flat for as low as Rs 13 lakhs and a 2-BHK at Rs 19 lakhs,” says Ranjan.
Town planning in Karjat
A few years ago, Karjat was notified under the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which helped the agency to undertake advanced urban planning with a minimum FSI of 1.0.
The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), has been entrusted with Karjat’s town planning and implementation. Various large townships are being developed in Karjat, under the special township provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act and also under Special Township Projects under section 63-I (A) of the Mumbai Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, which provides for conversion of land of 100 acres/40 hectares, into non-agricultural type.
(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)