The ambitious plan to build smart cities along the Mumbai-Pune expressway has now got a major boost as studies by a private consultant have shown encouraging signs to build dedicated zones for information technology, health, services, tourism etc.
The report is likely to set the ball rolling for the project.
According to officials, the consultant, Korean Land & Housing Corporation, examined four of total 23 land parcels along the 95-km expressway, which fall under the jurisdiction of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), in order to check the feasibility of the project.
Recently, the state government appointed the MSRDC as a special planning authority (SPA) for land parcels along the expressway between Panvel and Khopoli. With the consultant giving its nod to the plan, the MSRDC now wants the consultant to prepare a master plan for the project. MSRDC managing director Radheshyam Mopalwar said “The consultant will prepare master plan for area. In addition, the board approved appointment of nodal consultant for proposed Mumbai-Nagpur Highway.”
Explaining the smart city plan further, MSRDC’s joint managing director Kiran Kurundkar said that the consultant will see what kind of dedicated zone it can be developed on these land parcels.
“We are planning to appoint a few more consultants to prepare proper plan. In addition, we are going to start survey of the area by appointing town planner soon,” Kurundkar said.
Earlier, the state government had designated the MSRDC to be SPA for total 84 villages.
However, 11 were dropped after they were found being part of Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (Naina), the upcoming smart city on 562-hectares land around proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).
Interestingly, the MSRDC cannot use its land parcel beyond Khopoli following the state government’s decision to form Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority — a development body to develop areas around Pune city.