The multiple advantages offered by residential projects across the extended suburbs or ‘exurbs’ of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) are more than evident. The one recurring theme that unites them, regardless of geographical location, is the inherent growth potential that gets unlocked in tandem with the development of infrastructure projects, which enhance their connectivity with prime areas like South Mumbai.
Chembur is a prime example of how this concept works, with the transformation triggered off by the Eastern Freeway being all too evident. The ripple effect extended right up to Navi Mumbai with the time savings and ease of access to South Mumbai being lauded as a true game changer. Something similar is set to take place again but the size and significance of the project are in a different league altogether and the impact of the infrastructure augmentation is expected to be on a much larger scale.
For many of us, a ride on the ferry is synonymous with picnics at Madh and Gorai in the western suburbs or visiting the Elephanta Caves via the Gateway of India in South Mumbai. However, move a little further along the coast and there is a place called Ferry Wharf of Bhau cha Dhakka, which is frequented by fisherfolk, vacationers proceeding towards Alibaug, Murud, Janjira and some who use this facility for their regular work commute as well.
My first visit to the Ferry Wharf was in 2012, as I took a launch to Mora Jetty to visit my friend Nilesh Thakkar in Uran, which while located on the outskirts of Mumbai, still comes within the MMR limits. My second visit was in 2016 when he moved into a larger house in Uran along with his wife Swati and son Pratham. The evening ride back from Mora to Mumbai was a great experience, watching the Navi Mumbai bridge to your right and a faint view of South Mumbai to your left, with the distant lights shimmering like diamonds under the moonlit sky.
These locations offer twin benefits that cannot be ignored. The quest for owning a home is facilitated to a considerable extent by the affordable rates while the appreciation in property values that results from high-impact infrastructure projects makes it an astute investment decision.
A resident of Uran since birth, Nilesh has witnessed its evolution and now awaits the real estate revolution that is on the anvil. “While designing housing projects there were restrictions on the height of buildings on account of defence installations, port, navy, and public sector oil companies along with environmental considerations. However, in recent times, it is heartening to see real estate development taking place in this area.” Swati who moved to Uran from Ghatkopar after marriage feels that Uran will be like a ‘town’ in the city, while emphasising that “Our decision to buy a house in Uran itself did not require the family to make some sacrifices.”
Uran has a history dating back several centuries, with early settlements being primarily focused on fishing and agriculture because of its coastal location. As things evolved over the years with the expansion of Mumbai and the increasing demand for space, Uran witnessed gradual industrialisation, that led to the establishment of industrial zones and factories, resulting in the need for worker housing and related infrastructure. The realty market of this locality has gained significant prominence in recent times thanks to multiple infrastructure projects planned in its vicinity.
The infrastructure trump card for Uran is the Mumbai Trans-Harbour Link (MTHL), which will connect Mumbai with Navi Mumbai. Internal commutes will also be greatly facilitated by the upcoming railway project while the Navi Mumbai International Airport is also just about 25 km away.
Looking back at the evolution of the western suburbs, having been a resident of Vile Parle since birth, I too have witnessed how the airports in the vicinity provided impetus to real estate development and property values. The benefits that would accrue for locations like Uran from the two mega connectivity projects could well make the decision to own a home in that belt a win-win proposition.
(The writer is a Trend Science, Communication & Marketing Consultant)