New Delhi: Over 600 acres of prime land in Mumbai, at an estimated worth of Rs 50,000 crore, could soon be available for residential and commercial development if the union shipping ministry has its way.
Government officials familiar with the matter told ThePrint that the 625 acres of land is located in the city’s prime eastern waterfront and belongs to the Mumbai Port Trust. The trust is the largest landowner in the city and is currently sitting on 1,875 acres of land.
Shipping ministry officials said the monetisation of the land of the Mumbai Port is one of the main projects that the ministry hopes to prioritise in the next five years.
“The proposal is part of the big-ticket idea that will be given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by one of the group of secretaries set up last month,” one of the officials said. “The group has been tasked with coming up with transformative ideas in the infrastructure sector.”
Shipping ministry officials made a presentation and discussed the proposal with the cabinet secretary earlier this month, the official added.
The project envisages developing a satellite city on 625 acres of Mumbai’s eastern waterfront and then opening it to maritime tourism.
“It will have four components — a residential district, a commercial district, a central park and a sea tourism hub,” a second official said.
According to research done by property brokerage firm Anarock, the overall commercial value of this prime chunk of land will be in excess of Rs 50,000 crore.
In its presentation before the cabinet secretary, the shipping ministry has said that it will move a cabinet note on the proposal by November 2019 and start development of the central park by November 2020. As part of promoting sea tourism, the ministry has, among other things, proposed to develop the world’s largest sea-ropeway to the Elephanta caves.
Ministry officials said the modalities of the project are now being worked out.
“It is too early in the day to give specific details such as whether the land will be given on lease to private players, what will be the revenue sharing model, etc,” the second official quoted above said.
“Before we move the cabinet, we will have to discuss the proposal with the state government and the Mumbai Port Trust and take them on board.”
Not a new proposal
Ministry officials, however, concede that monetisation of Mumbai Port Trust land is not a new idea altogether. The proposal was first mooted by Union Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari back in 2014 when he had also been handling the shipping portfolio.
The ministry had then set up a committee under former Mumbai Port Trust chairman Rani Jadhav to recommend ways to go about the monetisation proposal.
The committee had recommended using a major chunk of the land to promote water tourism, setting up hotels and other commercial establishments. A portion of the land was to be used for developing affordable housing projects.
“The proposal was discussed at the Prime Minister’s Office. But it did not get the go-ahead that time,” said a senior government source.
What it means for Mumbai & its realty sector
Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock property consultants, says that unlocking this prime land will have a major positive impact on the overall real estate market in the city.
“Firstly, due to the scarcity of land parcels for future developments, Mumbai has seen property prices skyrocket over the years. Hence, this additional land parcel will help bring in new supply and thus curtail prices to an extent,” Puri told ThePrint.
“Second, if put to right use, it can help the city solve its housing shortage issue to a large extent — urban housing shortage in Maharashtra alone is pegged at 19.7 lakh homes.”
He, however, cautioned that if the land is not put to appropriate use, its fate will be similar to the mill lands that got converted into prime residential and commercial hubs for a limited few.