The region of Rewas-Mandwa in Alibaug is headed for transformation with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group preparing to sink Rs 5000 crore to create a port-based special economic zone, a company official said. Some local land-owners are also prepared to oppose the project.
The government approved the project earlier this week to build the infrastructure at Rewas. The area was long known for its natural beauty and thousands of acres uninterrupted of paddy fields.
The zone has been planned over 2,850 hectors of land. This would comprise of container terminals, facilities to store and process lubricants and all other port activities.
The area is now home and livelihood for 25,000 people. Like special economic zone projects all over India, this one too will face its share of opposition. Local resident and land-owner M V Varde said: “We will not part with our land at any cost and not allow this area to be ruined.”
“What job one can one get at a container terminal and why should we part with our ancestral property for somebody else’s benefits?” he said.
This is the third zone Reliance has planned near Mumbai. The two others are Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone and Maha-Mumbai Special Economic Zone in the Raigad and Navi Mumbai. Reliance is planning townships along with processing zones aimed to decongest Mumbai with investment of Rs 30,000 crore.
Rewas is the first zone planned by Reliance group near Mumbai to get the approval. Reliance Logistics Investment and Jai Corp owned by of Mukesh Ambani’s close friend Anand Jain have the licence to develop the Rewas Port.
Last year they had acquired majority control in Rewas Port from Amma Lines belonging to Meka Vijay Papa Rao, who got the licence from Government of Maharashtra five years ago.
The proposed Rewas Port, located 16 kms away from Gateway of India, would be able to handle bigger vessels than those received at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Bombay Port Trust. “The Rewas Port holds key to overall economic development of this region and there would be a quick turnaround time for vessels visiting Mumbai. The available capacity at JNPT and BPT are inadequate to handle the desired maritime movements,” said a Reliance official.
The Centre is planning to set up dedicated rail freight corridor connecting Delhi and Rewas near Mumbai by public and private participation. “This rail network will pass through six states and industrial clusters would be set up all along this route for quick transportation of goods,” said the official.