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Lessons from Navi Mumbai – A success story of sustainable urbanization

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By Subhankar Mitra

The idea of creating a new city as a counter magnet to Mumbai was originally envisaged in the Regional Plan of Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in 1965. The actual planning process of this new city began in 1971 after the formation of CIDCO, a Government-owned company for development of cities.

The initiative was spearheaded by renowned architect Charles Correa and a specialist team of planners, including Shirish Patel, Pravina Mehta and Chief Planner R. K. Jha. Their vision was to create a combination of 14 mini towns or nodes, each to be provided with connectivity through well-designed roads, and later on through railway networks. Recently, the metro system was added to the original master plan.

Infrastructure such as water supply, power, sewerage and rain water discharge was meticulously designed. The concept of holding ponds helped in preventing the inundation of streets and buildings even during heavy monsoon rains. Thanks to this planned approach, the quality of infrastructure at Navi Mumbai today is much better than in most parts of Greater Mumbai.

Navi Mumbai was added as the last mega settlement zone of the MMR region in ‘70s; other cities and conurbations already existed prior to the creation of this satellite city. Today, Navi Mumbai’s success as a city is vouchsafed by its tremendous growth over time. In a span of four decades, it has not only caught up with the existing settlements but has also become the second-largest settlement city within MMR in terms of population share. In the last decade, Navi Mumbai has grown at an incredible speed of 88%, which is the highest growth rate in the region.

Despite its fast growth, Navi Mumbai continues to be defined by a spatial openness which cannot be found anywhere else in MMR. Even given its high growth rate and burgeoning population size, the population density in Navi Mumbai – about one-third of the density of Greater Mumbai – is the lowest among all cities in the MMR region. This is one of Navi Mumbai’s key defining aspects and biggest USP as a real estate market – the quality of life available in this city.

Navi Mumbai also ranks high in terms of social indicators like literacy rate, which is over 95% among its predominantly middle-income population, as well as social and civic infrastructure.

The success of Navi Mumbai can be largely attributed to the efficient integration of economic activities and infrastructure. Even before the development of the city, there were two major industrial clusters in existence here, namely TTC and Kalamboli. The new plan envisaged growth of a new commercial district at CBD Belapur, an IT and Technology node at Mahape, wholesale and retail activity at Vashi, etc. All these economic nodes were later on integrated with the residential nodes by way of road and railway networks, and a good public transport system.

As the human capital in the city grew, it started gathering strength in the knowledge sector as well. Today, the city boasts of many additional economic anchors such DAKC, Mind Space, Reliance Corporate Park and Siemens, to name a few. The only disappointment was CBD Belapur, which failed to attract the corporate sector from South Mumbai as initially envisaged. Today, CBD Belapur in fact faces huge competition from Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai.

What The Future Holds

Navi Mumbai is now poised at the next stage of transition, which is likely to be by way of expansion of its services sector. The city already has most key ingredients like good human capital, support infrastructure and land availability to become a strong service sector hub. What it lacks is faster and smoother connectivity with the existing commercial hubs of Greater Mumbai, particularly the suburbs. Without such linkage, there are definitely pitfalls to a smooth transition for Navi Mumbai’s economy.

There are two new major economic drivers are planned for Navi Mumbai – the proposed SEZs at Dronagiri, Ulwe and Kalamboli and the proposed international airport at Panvel. Both of these factors are expected to generate a massive amount of employment, providing a further impetus to the demand for commercial and residential developments.

The successive regional plans of MMR have laid emphasis on the further decongestion of Greater Mumbai. It is the high congestion premium that makes Greater Mumbai unaffordable, which is also under crushing pressure on its infrastructure, a victim to irreversible damage to its environment and overall degradation of quality of life.

The way forward for a more sustainable future of Greater Mumbai is to initiate a planning process that integrates it more closely and intensely with surrounding cities like Navi Mumbai. Only such measures will provide a vent-out for the crunched-up population out of the city.

Unfortunately, the proposed Development Plan of greater Mumbai (DP 2034) actually proposes a reversal of this concept. By increasing the FSI and diverting environment sensitive zones into ‘urbanizable’ zones, the message being sent is that decongestion of the city is not a priority anymore. For the larger benefit of the region, all DPs should be in line with the philosophy of the Regional Plan. The survival of Greater Mumbai will greatly dependent on the success of cities like Navi Mumbai.

(The author is a Local Director – Strategic Consulting, JLL India)

 

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Navi Mumbai has been growing rapidly. It has become a hub for all kinds of people. Along with infrastructure, Navi Mumbai provides you with scenic beauty and peacefulness. Being a Navi Mumbaikar, I know how it feels to be here!

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Navi Mumbai has been growing rapidly. It has become a hub for all kinds of people. Along with infrastructure, Navi Mumbai provides you with scenic beauty and peacefulness. Being a Navi Mumbaikar, I know how it feels to be here!

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Vintage Phone Museum: The museum having rare collection of classic cell phones opens in Slovakia

The museum has around 1,500 cell phone models

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Old Nokia mobile phones are placed on a shelf inside of a private museum of phones in Dobsina, Slovakia
Old Nokia mobile phones are placed on a shelf inside of a private museum of phones in Dobsina, Slovakia. VOA

Dobsina, Slovakia, September 10, 2017:

As new smartphones hit the market month in month out, one Slovak technology buff is offering visitors to his vintage phone museum a trip down memory lane – to when cell phones weighed more than today’s computers and most people couldn’t afford them.

Twenty-six-year-old online marketing specialist Stefan Polgari from Slovakia began his collection more than two years ago when he bought a stock of old cell phones online. Today, his collection at the vintage phone museum boasts some 1,500 models, or 3,500 pieces when counting duplicates.

The vintage phone museum (website: http://www.mobilephonemuseum.org/), which takes up two rooms in his house in the small eastern town of Dobsina, opened last year and is accessible by appointment.

The collection includes the Nokia 3310, which recently got a facelift and re-release, as well as a fully functional, 20-year old, brick-like Siemens S4 model, which cost a whopping 23,000 Slovak koruna – more than twice the average monthly wage in Slovakia when it came out.

“These are design and technology masterpieces that did not steal your time. There are no phones younger than the first touchscreen models, definitely no smartphones,” said Mr. Polgari.

“It’s hard to say which phone is most valuable to me, perhaps the Nokia 3510i Star Wars edition,” said Mr. Polgari – who uses an iPhone in his daily life. (VOA)

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Punjab government signed an MoU with Reliance Jio to provide free Wi-Fi facility in all Technical Institutes

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Wifi, Pixabay

Chandigarh, May 18, 2017: The Punjab government on Thursday signed an MoU with Reliance Jio to provide free Wi-Fi facility in all state-run engineering colleges, industrial training institutes and polytechnics, a minister said.

The step will help provide free Internet to students of these institutions for their academics and also encourage cashless transactions and digitalisation, Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said.

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He said Reliance Jio will set up the infrastructure for the purpose, bearing the cost of equipment and electricity required for Wi-Fi functioning.

The company will block all objectionable websites as per the Centre’s directions.

The principals of the institutions concerned have been directed to provide suitable space and security for the proposed Wi-Fi service and relevant network equipment required. (IANS)

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Reliance to launch Jio-Money Merchant Solutions app to enable digital transactions, especially among small Merchants

Using the JioMoney Merchant App, merchants can also make supplier payments, transfer money between his bank account and use digital petty cash

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Reliance Jio Prime
Reliance Jio Prime Benefits are introduced with Triple Cashback offer. Wikimedia.

Mumbai, Dec 1, 2016: To enable digital transactions, especially among small merchants, Reliance Industries on Thursday announced it was launching next week its Jio-Money Merchant Solutions.

“To enable digital transactions, merchants, especially small merchants, are an important component of our economy. To fuel their transactions, Jio is working to empower Indian merchants by building a digital retail ecosystem, which we are calling Jio-Money Merchant Solutions,” said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited, in an address to stakeholders at RIL’s Navi Mumbai office.

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“Starting December 5, every merchant can download the Jio-Money Merchant Application,” he added.

Ambani said this will enable digital transactions of all types, whether they be at mandis, small shops, restaurants, railway ticket counters, for bus and mass transit and even for person-to-person money transfers.

“Customers can use their JioMoney wallets to pay merchants from their bank accounts, and merchants can use the Jio-Money Merchant App to accept these payments directly into their bank accounts,” he said.

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Using the JioMoney Merchant App, merchants can also make supplier payments, transfer money between his bank account and use digital petty cash.

“JioMoney is focused on signing up over 10 million small merchant retailers in the coming weeks across 17,000 towns and four lakh villages. With this, the JioMoney ecosystem will be a committed and enthusiastic partner for the smooth implementation of our Prime Minister’s game-changing vision of creating a digitally-enabled and strong Indian economy,” Ambani said. (IANS)