To encourage landowners to give up their land in the 32 villages through which the proposed 126-km Virar-Alibaug multi-modal corridor will pass, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is exploring the land pooling option.
The entire corridor is proposed to be 99-metre wide, with a 30-metre Metro line on the median. The MMRDA will also provide for eight lanes on both sides for buses and vehicular traffic, besides walkways and parking slots.
The corridor is expected to halve the travel time between Virar and Alibaug.
In land pooling, small chunks of land owned by private owners are clubbed together for a public project in exchange for a share in the developed land. It turns landowners into stakeholders in a project. For instance, land pooling is being used to construct the ambitious 710-km Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expresssway.
The Virar-Alibaug corridor could help the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in creating new growth areas in the city’s hinterland and decongesting the megapolis.
The project, which was proposed in 2010, recently got a boost after the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) gave a go-ahead to construct an 80-km link between Navghar in Virar and Chirner near Panvel in the eco-sensitive coastal regulation zone (CRZ) near creeks and mangroves.
However, the next major challenge before the implementing agency is to acquire land for the project.
According to sources, MMRDA officials faced opposition from locals when they conducted a survey to demarcate the land in July and August.
“Locals opposed the survey as they feared that the government would take away their land without giving them any compensation,” said a senior official requesting anonymity.
“There is always a trust deficit when it comes to dealing with government, but we are yet to engage with landowners and work out a compensation plan,” the official added.
The total land required for the project is 583 hectares, of which, 180 hectares is forest land.
“We will engage with landowners and if they want, we are open to exploring the land pooling option for the project. It depends on what landowners want,” said Pravin Darade, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.
Another senior official on condition of anonymity said, “We have completed the land survey and we will soon engage with the locals by the next month.”
Road to creating new growth centres in MMR
•The entire corridor is proposed to be 99-meter wide with a 30-meter metro rail line on the median
•The corridor is estimated to cost Rs13,000 crore
•The project will also provide for eight lanes on both sides for buses and vehicular traffic, besides walkways and parking slots
•The projects is likely to halve the travel time between Virar and Alibaug
•The Navghar-Chirner phase (80km), expected to cost about Rs10,000 crore, will connect the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport, Dedicated Freight Corridor and the JNPT port.
•The 126-km corridor is crucial step towards the development of the area and job-creation in Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivali, Panvel, Taloja and Uran
•The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the implementing agency, has conducted a survey for land acquisition and may explore the land pooling option
•The land pooling is being used to construct the ambitious 710-km Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expresssway