The maker of modern cities

Print edition : November 18, 2005

Palm Beach Marg, the internal expressway in Navi Mumbai constructed by CIDCO to facilitate uninterrupted travel. -

In the past three decades, CIDCO has emerged as the premier infrastructure development agency in the country.

IN the late 1950s, as Mumbai's population rose owing to the city's increasing industrial and commercial strength and quality of life started deteriorating, the State government realised the need to develop a new city not far away from the capital to ease the congestion. The land beyond the dead end of the city's harbour rail corridor towards north was identified for this purpose in 1958. And the task to develop the 344 sq km land fell on the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (CIDCO), formed on March 17, 1970, with a seed capital of Rs.3.95 crores. The result is today's Navi Mumbai, the world's largest planned modern city. It is a city of comforts with eco-friendly atmosphere and state-of-the-art infrastructure and with the potential to cater to the needs of over two million people.

For every landmark of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai has its rival. If Mumbai is adorned with the Queen's Necklace at Marine Drive, Navi Mumbai has one at Palm Beach Marg. While Mumbai has Nariman Point as its business district, Navi Mumbai has a centrally located business district in Belapur. While Mumbai comprises seven islands, Navi Mumbai consists of 14 townships called nodes. The Mount Mary Church in Bandra, Mumbai, has its counterpart in Navi Mumbai's Hill of Gods in Nerul.

These are just a few facts that led the National Geographic Channel feature Navi Mumbai in the "Super Cities of the World" series.

CIDCO has so far developed about 1.14 lakh tenements for every strata of society in Navi Mumbai and its Mass Housing Department was recently awarded the prestigious ISO 9000 certification. Some of its important housing projects in Navi Mumbai include Seawoods, Spaghetti and Millennium Towers. CIDCO's current total investment in the city building projects is Rs.10,000 crores. As many as 1.3 million people have already opted to relocate to Navi Mumbai. The planned infrastructure, when ready, can accommodate four million people.

With the best education opportunities available, Navi Mumbai is fast-emerging as the educational capital of India. Each node is self-sufficient in quality education facilities.

About 22.5 per cent of the total population is considered to be school-going and adequate provision is made to absorb it in each node. The city has schools that offer various syllabi - the State Education Board, CBSE and ICSE. Besides the regular arts and science colleges, there are higher education institutions that provide courses in engineering, medicine, catering and management. Students from adjoining towns and suburbs come to Navi Mumbai in their quest for quality education.

NAVI MUMBAI has world-class urban infrastructure, including state-of-the-art transportation facilities and reliable system for adequate power and water supply. Safety is the most significant part of city planning. CIDCO planners took all the precautionary measures in the development of Navi Mumbai so that safety is not compromised on any count. The city's safety was put to the test on July 26 when incessant rains lashed coastal Maharashtra. The unprecedented downpour marooned several areas, caused loss running into crores of rupees and left many people dead. However, in Navi Mumbai the damage was limited thanks to the storm water management system set up by CIDCO. The system's detention ponds constructed in low-lying areas hold storm water and do not let it flow into the creek causing flooding.

It is to develop a railway line in Navi Mumbai that the Indian Railways entered into its first ever joint venture project since Independence. While it put in 33 per cent of the project cost, CIDCO took care of the remaining 67 per cent. The 200-km rail route, which consists of six corridors with 30 stations, will connect all nodes and neighbouring towns. Two corridors are already commissioned and work on the third one is in progress.

CIDCO has initiated the new practice of utilising floor space above the railway stations for commercial use. It has resulted in the establishment of economic centres and increase in employment opportunities. The International Infotech Park and International Technology Centre have come up over the Vashi and Belapur railway stations respectively.

Besides five majors bridges, eight flyovers, 15 over bridges and a couple of foot over bridges, CIDCO has developed a 650-km-long road network that connects all the nodes between them and with the neighbouring towns. To facilitate fast and uninterrupted travel it has constructed an internal expressway, the Palm Beach Marg.

The city's progress is based on its strong economic centres. In fulfilling the objectives of absorbing immigrants and promoting rational distribution of industries, CIDCO has brought to the city a wholesale fruit and vegetable market from Mumbai. It has also developed Asia's largest Agricultural Produce Market Complex (APMC) to accommodate these markets. The APMC project won the Prime Minister's Award in the Implemented Urban Planning and Design Project category.

At the heart of Navi Mumbai lies a Central Business District (CBD) on about 500 hectare, which means it is, 20 times larger than Nariman Point.

The city forms a major part of the Knowledge Corridor that spans between Mumbai and Pune. CIDCO has played a major role in developing the corridor, which comprises the International Infotech Park at Vashi, the International Technology Park at CBD Belapur, the Millenium Park at Mahape and the Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City at Koperkhairane. The city has a dense optic fibre cabling (OFC) system, thanks to basic service providers in the telecommunications sector.

CIDCO has played a major role in developing the corridor that comprises the International Infotech Park at Vashi.-

In its endeavour to give the best to customers, CIDCO has kept itself abreast with the latest technology. While preparing a long-term IT road map, CIDCO implemented a combination of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Geographical Information System (GIS). Accordingly, Systems Application Product (SAP) for ERP and Arc-Info for GIS have been finalised. CIDCO is the first organisation under the Maharashtra government to implement SAP.

Increasing employment opportunities has helped the next generation of Mumbaikars to decide to relocate to Navi Mumbai. A survey done by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 2000 revealed that 43 per cent of the families currently settled in Navi Mumbai migrated from Mumbai. The percentage has gone up since then. The survey found that the literacy rate in the city was 96 per cent, that 32 per cent of the total population was working, that 67 per cent own their houses and that 46 per cent own vehicles.

There are a few more things that make people believe that Navi Mumbai makes their future bright. The Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ) and the International Airport, two ambitious projects on the anvil, would become the determining factors in Navi Mumbai's progress. They are destined to make the city an economic powerhouse.

The Navi Mumbai SEZ Company has been formed and the Special Purpose Vehicle is about to commence the project.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport project is waiting for the final approval from the Government of India. The airport when ready will have all world-class facilities and would put Navi Mumbai on the global air map. Simulation study has been commissioned and assigned to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Montreal, Canada with funding from CIDCO and the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

A golf course-cum-country club is being finalised on picturesque coastline in Nerul node.

Besides developing physical and social infrastructure in Navi Mumbai, CIDCO has taken up the task of building a `Science Park' in accordance with the National Science Policy. It also plans to build a `Mangrove Park' to protect the coastal environment and a `Central Park' similar to London's Hyde Park.

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