The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to prepare a blueprint for making the region a $250 billion economy in the next five years.
S V R Srinivas, MMRDA metropolitan commissioner, said, “The state is looking to have $1 trillion economy. If the state has to reach that target, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has to produce the growth rate.”
For several decades, Mumbai has been the growth engine for Maharashtra and is considered the financial capital for the state and the country.
Following the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, Mumbai experienced a surge in its financial and service sectors, which expanded beyond its existing manufacturing hubs. The persistent growth over the past three decades has increased Mumbai’s expanse into the MMR.
With saturation of the city limits, the smaller cities and towns surrounding the mainland began to grow with incoming resources and capital, developing commercial establishments, residential settlements and more.
Consequently, Mumbai which was the primary hub, expanded with these hubs centralised in multiple places.
According to the MMRDA’s bid documents, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the MMR region currently stands at around $140 billion. Its per capita GDP of $4,500 is almost double from that of Maharashtra.
As per MMRDA estimates, Maharashtra contributes about 10 per cent of the national GDP, of which one third is accounted by the MMR.
With an eye towards the future potential, different localities of the MMR are being established and developed – such as Karjat, Kasara and Shahapur in the extended Central Mumbai suburbs.
The Navi Mumbai suburbs have expanded and reached up to the Raigad district with key areas including Palaspa, Karanjade, Ulwe and areas around Panvel.
Further, there has been an influx of industries and commercial setups in locations of Ambernath, Badlapur, Ambivali, Dombivli in Thane district.
The state government is looking at Bhiwandi and Navi Mumbai as upcoming logistic hubs.
As the services, financial and technology sectors continue to expand in these regions, it is imperative to witness the current transport infrastructure boom to support substantial growth.
Connecting The Mumbai Metropolitan Regions
The government aims to harness the benefits of the major transport infrastructure projects that are being developed to bring satellite towns of Mumbai closer to the island city.
The Mumbai Coastal Road is a 22.2 km long freeway that is under construction to connect the western coastline of Mumbai to the northern region of Kandivali.
With its operations, the coastal road is projected to cater to 130,000 daily commuter and reduce the travel time between south Mumbai to the western suburbs from two hours to 40 minutes.
The other grand project is the Mumbai Trans-Harbor Sea Link (MTHL). The proposed linkage is a 21.8 km long bridge connecting Mumbai to Navi Mumbai. Building on the success of the Bandra-Worli sea link, the MTHL is expected to be the longest sea bridge in India.
As the gateway to Navi Mumbai, this sea link will cater to the increased demand of regular transport between mainland areas and growing parts of Navi Mumbai. Presently, this high transit demand has to face increased traffic and congestion, which will be eased through this link.
Earlier, Mumbai’s growth was limited with its three sides surrounded by sea, while with the MTHL, it will get better connectivity and efficiently promote urban and industrial development.
The MMRDA also identified growth centres on the Virar-Alibaug multi-modal hub. The 126 km long corridor that is in the making, is set to bring major connectivity between districts of Palghar, Thane and Raigad.
The corridor will be linking National Highway (NH)-8, Bhiwandi bypass, NH-3, NH-4 and NH-4B, Mumbai-Pune Expressway and NH-17.
This corridor is expected to elevate opportunities for seven key centres across Virar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Dombivali, Panvel, Taloja and Uran.
The Metro for Mumbai and MMR is planned to spread across the city in all directions and serve as a parallel service to reduce the traffic in the city and supplement the overcrowded railway network.
The connectivity currently has three operational lines. The project is expected to be finished by 2025, bringing a network of 14 metro lines spanning 350 km. This project when operational is envisioned to transform transit experiences between Mumbai and its satellite towns — Thane and Navi Mumbai.
The estimated cost of the complete Mumbai Metro project is more than Rs 1.4 lakh crore. (Read more on the Mumbai Metro network)
Furthermore, several proposed and ongoing interstate connectivity projects will aid in bolstering economic opportunities. These include the 650 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train, the Navi Mumbai International Airport, the Vadhavan Port in Palghar, and the Mumbai-Delhi Expressway.
These transportation projects mark a significant infrastructure overhaul, which is unprecedented for the city.
Bringing together these projects will benefit the ambitious economic growth targets, while additionally, these projects are in their own — infrastructural marvels.
The advent of these developments also opened up entry points for innovations, modern design and engineering approaches, which can propel Mumbai into global ranks of such advanced infrastructure.
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