The Maharashtra government is looking at forging government-to-government agreements to bring in international urban planners for advice on how to best revamp the crumbling Bandra government colony, spread over a 93-acre sprawl on prime land, adjacent to the plush Bandra Kurla Complex.
For that, the state government is in talks with the Korean Land and Housing Corporation, an undertaking of the South Korean government that specialises in land development, town planning and creation of housing stock.
A senior official from the state public works department said, “We are in the process of working out a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and are still negotiating on the terms and conditions of the agreement. We are looking to bring in foreign experts, but the deal has not been finalised yet.” The redevelopment of the Bandra government colony, first cleared in 2009, has faced many hurdles.
The state public works department has been mulling over dividing the Bandra government colony, which houses nearly 5,000 government staffers, into smaller plots and auctioning out about half the land to monetize it on the lines of the Bandra Kurla Complex.
The Korean Land and Housing Corporation, founded in 1962, has been focusing on building rental housing, housing for sale, planning new towns and industrial clusters in South Korea. In the past, the corporation has assisted the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) in checking the feasibility of creating smart cities along the 95-km Mumbai-Pune expressway.
Besides, the Union government’s National Buildings Construction Corporation also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korean Land and Housing Corporation for sharing expertise on smart city projects in India and Korea.
A state government official said, if the agreement with the corporation for the Bandra government colony also goes through, it will help in drawing a concept plan on how best to use the large land bank and the various possible implementation methods. “The government will then prepare a detailed plan for the execution,” he said.
The official said that the state government is also in talks with the Singaporean government for its urban planners to assist with the project, but added that the discussions are still at a very early stage as of now.
The redevelopment project was first cleared in 2009, when the government had even appointed three developers – DB Realty, Ackruti City and Kakade Developers. They were to construct the government buildings and pay Rs 1,300 crore to the government in exchange for a nearly 20-acres land parcel for commercial exploitation. However, the plan ultimately fell through and the project went into cold storage.