New megacity on the cards near Mumbai courtesy Mukesh Ambani

New megacity on the cards near Mumbai courtesy Mukesh Ambani

Mumbai’s real estate sector may be in for a major boost and transformation with reports of Mukesh Ambani planning a new mega city on the outskirts in the near future. The Chairman at Reliance Industries and India’s richest man, Ambani, is now considering business ventures in new segments. Reliance Industries Limited already has a considerable presence in petrochemicals and retail through Reliance Retail along with telecommunications via Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited. The retail arm is already considering ecommerce forays on a mega scale to compete with big players in the country like Flipkart which is now owned by Walmart and Amazon which is spearheaded by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world at present. As per reports, Reliance Industries Limited is now considering a new megacity located near Mumbai.

The layout for the project is reportedly in its last tap and the megacity may be set up at Navi Mumbai. The idea was originally conceived by the iconic founder of the Reliance Group, Dhirubhai Ambani. This new megacity could draw investments up to a whopping $75 billion over a decade as per reports and the roll out could be similar to the swift way in which Reliance Industries established its refinery at Jamnagar and also Reliance Jio. The megacity will have connectivity through sea links, an airport and port while being modelled on Singapore.

The megacity is expected to house close to 5 lakh individuals and innumerable companies upon its completion as per reports. Experts feel that reverse migration in large numbers may be sparked by the development of this brand new megacity since the new city will have comparatively lower real estate prices than Mumbai. After the launch of this new city, the real estate market in Mumbai will undergo a major transformation and the urban development scenario in the country may also undergo a sea change as a result. The project may be affordable for the common man with superior quality and may be at par with Reliance Jio in terms of its nation-wide impact.

Reliance Industries Limited will be developing this new megacity and will eventually be administering and managing the same with a view towards fast-tracking approvals, major infrastructural projects and permissions. The company has already acquired a special planning authority license for this ambitious venture. This could be Mukesh Ambani’s next big bet after the mega roll out of Reliance Jio. Reliance Industries may see lakhs of people from Mumbai shifting to this new city and prices of real estate may reduce in Mumbai on account of lowering demand and reverse migration of citizens in large numbers.

This will balance out the Mumbai real estate market which is arguably the costliest housing market in the country at present. Reliance is currently working on the finishing touches for the layout and planning for this project according to the latest reports and the new venture may be the single largest project undertaken by the Reliance Group where every venture will have multiple sub-projects encased in itself. The idea was conceived by the Reliance Group founder Dhirubhai Ambani who had previously planned a new city in Navi Mumbai as early as the 1980s which could connect Navi Mumbai and South Mumbai through a solid road network.

If this plan had gone through back then, congestion would have been considerably lowered in Mumbai as per reports. Reliance has already confirmed the leasing of 4,000 acres from the NMSEZ (Navi Mumbai SEZ) for a sum of Rs. 2,180 crore as the initial payment with a view towards building a major economic hub at par with global counterparts. NMSEZ had provided this land parcel back in the year 2006 for creating a top class SEZ.

NMSEZ’s promoters include Mukesh Ambani himself along with SKIL Infrastructure Limited, Jai Corp India and CIDCO (City and Industrial Development Corp). CIDCO reportedly has a stake of 26% in the entity and the remainder is held by Mukesh Ambani along with Anand Jain’s Jai Corp and SKIL Infrastructure which is spearheaded by Nikhil Gandhi. Ambani tied up with Gandhi back in the year 2005 since Gandhi had been acquiring large land parcels ever since the year 2000 for establishing an SEZ inspired by the big-ticket SEZ projects in China. The Tata Group was reportedly interested in partnering Gandhi earlier but the deal eventually went to Ambani.

In the year 2018, the Maharashtra State Government allowed SEZ migration to the Integrated Industrial Area as part of the Maharashtra Industrial Policy. This made land readily available for the setting up of industrial facilities. NMSEZ subsequently applied before getting the nod for conversion of the SEZ into the IIA (Integrated Industrial Area) based upon this policy.

The setting up of the ambitious mega city in Navi Mumbai may require several years although it could be a major shot in the arm for the Mumbai real estate market and also for the country’s infrastructural growth in the future.