Thursday, 26 May 2016

Maha govt to build mega Rs 2,000-crore complex on Wadala plot

The 41-acre plot (16.5 hectares) is currently used as a customs godown -known as the Suleman Shah compound-and part of it is marked as a green belt

MUMBAI: In the first major construction on salt pan land in the city since the 1991 coastal regulations, a Rs 2,000-crore office-cum-residential complex of the Government of India will come up over the next five years on the salt pan tracts at Wadala.

The 41-acre plot (16.5 hectares) is currently used as a customs godown -known as the Suleman Shah compound-and part of it is marked as a green belt. On May 7, the state urban development department notified a change in the use of the land from godown to office, residence and a sports complex. Land is a state subject. The Central Board of Excise and Customs plans to build two twin towers to house 28 offices, 1,700 residential flats for officials of excise, customs and service tax, and a sports complex for the residents' use.

D Stalin, director of NGO Vanashakti, said Garodia Nagar at Ghatkopar was built on salt pan land more than 40 years ago. "This will certainly be one of the biggest constructions in recent years and will open the floodgates for construction on salt pans," he said.

The BMC has identified 265 hectares of salt pan land for affordable housing in its revised draft Development Plan which will be publicized later in the week.

Two parcels of the customs land-14 acres and three acres-are on one side of the Eastern Freeway and will be used for the offices. Another 24 acres on the other side of the elevated road will be used for the residences and the sports complex.

A senior customs officer said three parcels of salt pan land (14 acres, 24 acres and three acres) at Wadala were handed over to the board in 2003. Another 13 acres given to customs was given for the development of the Anik-Wadala bus depot.

The property became attractive for real estate development after construction of the Eastern Freeway. The official said the Freeway has provided easy access to the area. A subway is proposed to connect the residential quarters to the offices and the department plans to introduce the 'walk to work' concept. The construction will be done either by the central public works department or a public sector construction company. In case of the latter, e-tenders will be invited, said the official.

"In 2004, the Centre set up an advisory board to construct an office complex here. In 2005 and again in 2008, there was part deletion of the plot from godown to office complex. In 2011, the finance ministry gave an in-principle approval for the project. Last week, the state urban development department issued the notification for the final deletion," said the official.

The need for the complex was felt as there is a growing number of officials and shortage of residential quarters in the city. Another residential complex for customs employees is coming up in Kharghar.

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