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Development of Planned Business Districts in Mumbai

September 29, 2010

Mumbai has not seen many development initiatives apart from the Bandra-Kurla Complex and Navi Mumbai by CIDCO as mechanisms to develop business districts or growth clusters which will eventually decongest the city. Everyone agrees that the city offers unique challenges owing to its island geography & shape, CRZ limitation, legacy of British town planning in the island city. These are certainly not so overbearing that we have to contend with unrealistic pricing of land and intentional misinterpretation of Development Control Regulations.

Navi Mumbai

The city planners have worked to create a blueprint of a poly-nucleated urban form for Mumbai, envisaged in the regional plan for Mumbai. In the plan three new growth centers were identified, namely Bandra-Kurla complex, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan Complex. Besides these two more district centers were proposed one each in the western and eastern suburbs i.e. the Oshiwara District Center and the Kanjur Marg District Center respectively with target employment of 40,000 to 45,000 people.
These District Centers would cater to retail trade and semi-wholesale trade in various commodities along with entertainment facilities, professional offices banks etc. It is also proposed to have a substantial amount of residential population to service the district centre along with mixed use functions. The District Center plan also includes development of physical infrastructure like water supply, sewerage, drainage, electricity and social infrastructure along with cultural facilities to create the ambience of a metropolitan centre.

This Oshiwara District Centre is situated near the Western Railway line between Jogeshwari and Goregaon Railway Stations on 102 hectare site. Unlike the conventional approaches of development adopted by government of either direct development or PPP, the Oshiwara DC development has been designed through Participatory Process. The choice of approach was preferred due to large proportion of land in private ownership. The government had to strike a fine balance of convincing the private land owners to develop as per development plan, and compensate their efforts by investing in infrastructure. MMRDA is Special Planning Authority for Oshiwara District Centre within MCGM area since 1992, but it has not seen the desired success since it was launched. A similar DC at Kanjurmarg has also been planned on a 621-hectare land, off the Eastern Express highway owned by the State Government. MMRDA has requested the State Government to handover this marshy area that extends from Kanjur to Bhandup. In the last 3 years not much progress has been achieved in land acquisition given the sensitivities around utilization of salt pan lands and protests from environmental activist groups.

Bandra Kurla Complex

The government needs to create a framework for creating a development plan given the constraints of Mumbai – namely the CRZ restrictions and Salt Pan limitations. Appropriate investment to compensate for the environmental impact needs to be part of the project financials and suitable land has to be allocated for establishing the ecological balance. In the absence of such a mechanism, any efforts to create alternate urban clusters or district centers in Mumbai will struggle against reason.

Navi Mumbai

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