Chief minister Ashok Chavan has cleared the proposal for an Innovation Park in the state being set up by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) near Panvel. The Innovation Park will be spread over 5,000 acres and will house research centres of private industry as well as government with several thousand scientists from different countries. The exact site of the project is still under wraps. However, according to MMRDA officials, it would take an hour to reach it from Panvel. The MMRDA will be collaborating with the Science and Technology Park, University of Pune for this venture. An agreement has also been signed with Sophia Antipolis of France to become one of the partners for the park. The project is envisaged as a place where there will be innovative research on a range of subjects, added MMRDA officials. The park is being established by Vision Group headed by MMRDA commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
There would be focused research on pharma, nano and bio-technology, functional foods, micro electronics and embedded systems, green energy, fuel cells, clean technologies, defence as well as internal security projects. The park would have an international convention centre, international research university, business incubators, a design institute and a language centre. After the announcement of the park a year ago, many large companies including Reliance Infra, Bharti Group, Indiabulls and ILFS Infrastructure showed interest in the project. An automobile major in India, which has huge landholdings near Panvel, is reportedly also interested.