Navi Mumbai, truly The New Mumbai
With the dearth of large land parcels in the city, there was a need to explore different avenues for a balanced growth. In lieu of the same, the Maharashtra government commenced the Navi Mumbai project with the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) back in 1971. Several leading architects were roped in to draw up the plan such as Charles Correa, Shirish Patel and R.K Jha.The main architect of the town, Charles Correa’s basic design concepts have stood the test of time and provided the residents of Navi Mumbai with a better lifestyle.Owing to the infrastructure and accessibility to various commercial centres that Navi Mumbai enjoys, people have migrated to this sylvan cityscape in thousands. Today, Navi Mumbai become has truly become a New Mumbai and known as one of the best-planned cities in Asia for a good reason.
When Navi Mumbai was conceived, there was a lot of speculation on the city’s ability to absorbthe demographic pressures of Mumbai. But today, not only has it eased the pressure on infrastructure load in the city but has also come into its own. Navi Mumbai has grown at a frenetic pace, but without the ills that plague large cities like pollution, traffic nightmares, overcrowding and disorganised planning. The population density is one of the lowest in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) which has ensured that the quality of life is not compromised. Both CIDCO and MIDC implemented a master plan effectively to sustainthat the development is very well spread with large open spaces, unlike Mumbai. CIDCO was entrusted with the job of converting this area into a world-class city, and that there is a good balance of social infrastructure, healthcare, open spaces, road and rail networks, making it well ahead of its time compared to any other city in India.
The Maharashtra Government’s bold development plans have given rise to a potential commercial corridor where residential and business activities can thrive because of a combination of factors that encourage the progress of any city. In the late 80s and early 90s, the railway bridge connecting Mumbai and Navi Mumbai with suburban local trains was completed. In the years that followed, the railways connected Airoli with Vashi and Panvel with Mumbai which almost completed the picture. The new airport and the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) are expected to be game changers with the latter reducing the commute time between South Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to 25 minutes, merging the two suburban zones into one megapolis. This planned haven is already an attractive proposition, and the future infrastructure developments being planned only make it irresistible.
Several big reputed developers saw this opportunity in the early 2000s, when they realized that the infrastructure, support services, and access to quality talent would provide the right impetus to making this location the most sought after in times to come. Having seen new suburbs and destinations like Hinjewadi in Pune, Madhapur in Hyderabad, Gurgaon in Delhi emerge into thriving micro markets for commercial office spaces, developersrealized that if those locations could work, then Navi Mumbai too would be a winner for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
A large section of the current work force belong to the millennial generation who wish to stay closer to their work place and seek a balance lifestyle. This has catalysed the development of basic and social infrastructure. At present Navi Mumbai boasts of its own stadium namedD.Y. Patil Stadium which hosts a variety of cricket and football matches along with concerts by international and national artistes. In the planning stage, education institutions were given great emphasis and they were designed in a way to provide one primary school per 5,000 population, one high school for 12,500 population and one college for 50,000 population. The city now has some of the best public and private institutions such as D.Y Patil International School among others offering world class education. Additionally, residents can find themselves enjoying the many entertainment hubs such as the Inorbit Mall and several other hypermalls in the vicinity. Even several leading banks have their branches in Navi Mumbai providing easy access to financial services to its residents. Not just this, Navi Mumbai has a plethora of multi-speciality hospitals like Fortis providing top notch health care services. These factors have made the city streets ahead of its peers on the liveability scale.
Mumbai as a region has seen maximum growth of technology jobs on the eastern side of the mainland specifically from Airoli to Vashi on the Thane Belapur road. This has fast emerged as the new outer ring road for Mumbai for technology jobs, with best infrastructure across utilities, public transport, social infra. The growth of this micro-market is also driven by the combination of cost-effective rentals and availability of good human resource.
Needless to say, the appropriate and inclusive growth of a region as large as Navi Mumbai, which has been in an expansion mode since its inception, could only have been achieved with proactive state support. The continuing massive infrastructure plans of the government, the participation of the various endemic communities in the region who want to take advantage of the economic benefit arising out of large projects, and the enthusiastic response of real estate investors and end-users have brought together the stakeholders of development in unison. Navi Mumbai can be a role model for many other similar smart city projects across the country which envisage to have an all-inclusive growth pattern.
By Mr. Vinod Rohira, MD & CEO- Commercial Real Estate and REITs, K Raheja Corp