Maharashtra plans Biz Districts along Mumbai-Pune Expressway

Maharashtra is planning to develop a business district with IT parks, recreational zones and affordable housing along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The state said the revenue from the business district will be ploughed back to develop 71 villages on the route. But planning experts questioned the use of mainly agricultural land for the plan. Planned by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation — as part of its development plan after it was appointed special planning authority for the 71 villages in 2016 — the new central business district will have financial and technological centres, animation, visual effects and gaming centres, and a comic park. The DP covers villages in the Panvel and Khalapur taluka — a total area of 186.72 sqkm, and is effective between 2016 and 2041. This is the MSRDC’s first development plan for the 71 villages.

According to the plan, 82.99% of this area has been underdeveloped, while 35% of the land-use is agriculture. MSRDC plans to implement the DP in four phases, including creating affordable housing on a 30-hectare land parcel. It estimates generating a revenue of ₹14,027.77 crore through the development of these 71 villages. The revenue will be earned through development charges, sale of MSRDC land and plots under its town-planning scheme and a premium on land and floor space index.

However, urban planning experts questioned the need to develop agriculture land. MSRDC estimates spending ₹12,099 crore to implement the DP with 138 reservations.

The plan states, “In order to attract younger wealth creators, apart from commercial uses permitted, the business zone shall host smart Fintech centres as per the Maharashtra FinTech Policy 2018.” The policy also aims to establish a Global Fintech Hub in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and make the state one of the top five fintech centres in the world in the next five years.

Planned 27 km from the Navi Mumbai International Airport, and another 13 km from the proposed multi-modal corridor, the business district will also be easy to access.

The CBD zone is proposed to be 130.45 hectares with a FSI of 4. Vijay Waghmare, joint managing director, MSRDC, said, “The CBD is one of the highlights of the plan. Apart from this, we have also proposed an international convention centre across 62 acres of land.”

According to an observation from the Confederation of India Industry, the move is good for industries, but power tariff needs to be “decent” for industries to set-up offices along the corridor.

Officials said the development plan is open to suggestions and objections from citizens till January 14, 2019.

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