Will Panvel beat Navi Mumbai to become the new gateway to Maharashtra’s hinterland? (DNA)
Cities that are thriving always tend to grow. And sometimes they outgrow themselves and spill over to areas in the neighbourhood, which are first called suburbs, then extended suburbs and then satellite towns. Navi Mumbai was meant to be a satellite town that could take away some of the population density away from Mumbai. It worked, but partially. Lack of government will to push for the development of Navi Mumbai was the primary reason.
But the story of Panvel could be a bit different. Though located a bit beyond Navi Mumbai, it has attracted attention as a new town, which could become bigger than Navi Mumbai and even ease some of the population pressures that Mumbai currently faces.
To discuss the potential of Panvel was a panel comprising (in alphabetical order) MD Lele, chief planner, Cidco; Joy Sanyal, local director and head, development initiatives, Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants (India) Pvt Ltd; Mayur R Shah, managing director, Marathon Realty Pvt Ltd; V Suresh, principal executive officer, Hirco; Pradeep Swami, director, Fortune InfraProject Pvt Ltd; Pranay Vakil, chairman, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd; Aparna Vedula, senior planner Cidco.
During these discussions, moderated by DNA’s RN Bhaskar, several issues were raised. Given below are excerpts from this conversation:
DNA: The idea behind this Conversation is to explore the possibilities and to enlighten our readers about the risks and the challenges that might arise related to the Panvel region. We would like to learn about policy decisions to be taken and what additional policy initiatives are needed. Since we have two people from Cidco, could we have them tell us what Panvel is all about? You are the master planners, you are the people behind Panvel. What have you done in Panvel that you have not done elsewhere?
Lele: Panvel is the gateway to the MMR — the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The main hinterland of Maharashtra lies towards the east and south of Panvel. Panvel provides quick access to the hinterland and it is the opening towards Pune. With the opening of the economy, one can expect a lot of development to take place in and around Panvel. There will be dramatic improvements taking place there.
Panvel has been a middle-class area, the other Navi Mumbai nodes are more affluent. Proximity to Pune is its biggest asset. With the new international airport coming up in Navi Mumbai, Panvel’s future seems very promising. It can really take off. Another plus point is its proximity to JNPT [the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust], the dedicated freight corridor [DFC], the industrial corridor [DMIC or the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, which could transform much of the business and logistics scenario for West and North India]. Even currently, the rail connectivity is excellent. As a terminus it is suitable for freight-related activities. Towards Pune you have agriculture, floriculture, so Panvel is poised for a great future.