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Mumbai Port Trust land to be developed on the lines of Singapore’s Marina Bay

Port trust floats global tender to develop 160 ha of non-contiguous land between Wadala and Cotton Green.

A year and a half after the chief minister refuted the need to turn the megapolis into Shanghai because “being Mumbai is the soul of this city”, the port authority is looking to Singapore for inspiration to develop 160 of the 750 hectares of land it owns on the city’s east coast.

The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), an autonomous body owned by the central government, has invited bids from international consultants to sketch out a master plan for developing pockets of its land between Cotton Green and Wadala on the lines of Singapore’s Marina Bay.

If seen through, the makeover will populate the city’s eastern waterfront with hotels, commercial complexes, bayside gardens, a convention centre, skating rink, cycling track, walkway, ecological park, and an entertainment hub.

An overarching revamp of the country’s oldest harbour was declared right after Nitin Gadkari took charge of the shipping ministry when the BJP assumed power at the Centre in 2014.

To fund the overhaul, the port authority is looking to develop some real estate, with high-rises that can, among other things, house administrative blocks to put up the central government’s offices. Currently, the Centre’s offices, scattered across the city, pay through the nose for the properties they rent.

MbPT chairman Sanjay Bhatia hopes to engage a consultant for the development over the next couple of months. “We want to develop this area taking into consideration city’s aspiration. We will be finalising the consultant within the next two to three months,” Bhatia said.

MbPT owns 750 hectares between Colaba and Wadala on Mumbai’s east coast. Over 36% or 275 hectares of this property is occupied by various public and private entities, while around 160 hectares is available for development. The rest is used for port operations.

While announcing the redevelopment, Minister Gadkari had said it would not only alleviate the space-starved city’s transportation and housing woes, but also enhance its look.

He had also appointed a committee under Rani Jadhav, who was then the chairperson of MbPT, for suggesting ways to develop the land. In her assessment, Jadhav had recommended streamlining of port operations, shutting some of the loss-making and polluting port activities, and opening up 60% of the 750 hectares of land for public use.

But Bhatia, the incumbent chairman, said, “The idea is to keep port operations running and work out how the rest of the land can be used for public good.”

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