On the shores of the Arabian Sea, situated a short distance away from the Mumbai shoreline, Alibaug is a tourist destination which for years has been a sleepy hamlet. This is set to change; Alibaug has the potential to be the socio-cultural and economic hub across Mumbai’s shoreline. One can see the potential for Alibaug to grow into an extended trans-harbour economic hub across Mumbai’s redefined shoreline. This evolution will happen as a result of enhanced round-the-year operational waterways, which will redefine the paradigm of connectivity.
This new paradigm evolves to include not just expressways and highways but also waterways: Mumbai has been exploring new modes of commute in form of water-based linkages. These long-delayed waterways will help create new suburbia in peripheral locations, connecting the Island city with space on which to boost economic and tourism activities. “Coastalization, in form of Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) services, Breakwaters, Jetties, Catamarans, Hovercraft services which will redefine Mumbai’s shoreline, is an apt way to describe this growth potential,” said Dr Niranjan Hiranandani.
Recently, the Maharashtra Chief Minister spoke about sea-based Ro-Ro services commencing operations in 2018, linking the triangle formed by New Bhaucha Dhakka in South Mumbai; Nerul in Navi Mumbai and Mandwa, near Alibaug. The Mumbai Port Trust is building a terminal at New Bhaucha Dhakka; CIDCO is similarly building a terminal at Nerul, while the Maharashtra Maritime Board is doing the same at Mandwa. The Maharashtra CM has spoken about the new ports policy, which apart from ferries, also mentions catamaran and hovercraft services. “Once the aspects mentioned in the new ports policy get completed, connectivity between South Mumbai and Alibaug will translate into a short and swift ride across the sea,” said Dr Niranjan Hiranandani.
For the space-starved island City, Navi Mumbai and Panvel along with Alibaug offer a great potential to develop into an economic powerhouse. This has the potential to shift the balance of power to this ‘triangle golden corridor’. Work and business-related travel will be made easier –the enhanced connectivity will witness a radical shift in economic growth, and what is today’s second home i.e. Alibaug, will soon be a first home location. “This will be similar to what happened in the New York-New Jersey scenario,” said Dr Niranjan Hiranandani.
Considering Alibaug’s status as the fastest emerging luxe-leisure spot in Mumbai’s vicinity, premium real estate development is all set to create a niche presence in the Alibaug region. Costalization, in form of Ro-Ro services along with catamarans and ferries, will effectively provide smooth all-weather transport option to what is today a tourist holiday destination. The near future should see enhanced connectivity being a catalyst for an upsurge in socio-cultural activities, which will attract even more tourism to the Alibaug region.
Alibaug offers practically everything that Goa, the prominent leisure destination on India’s west coast, has on its platter: Sun, Sand and the Sea. Viewed from the perspective of potential buyers of property in the Alibaug region, key to the success of any destination-themed project is easy to access and smooth connectivity. The new water-ways are all set to make Mumbai – Alibaug an easier connect.
Maharashtra’s Konkan region, from Mumbai through Alibaug and beyond, has traditionally had water linkages restricted to passenger ferry services based on launches – again, subject to vagaries of weather. But now, with Coastalization in form of catamarans, hovercrafts, and ferries, along with new jetties, things are all set to change. Dovetailed with improved concrete road connectivity, these enhanced linkages will provide Mumbai and its neighbouring coastal areas with the long-awaited enhanced connectivity.
From Mumbai’s perspective, Coastalization will not just help decongest the island city, but will also result in making the life of Mumbai’s residents easier, connecting the space-starved island city with the mainland. It will open up an easy route for commuting to work in South Mumbai from a home in the Alibaug region. The expected real estate development will result in enhanced tourism numbers, which will offer better investment options to property buyers as also boost the region’s economy. “Coastalization has the potential to morph Alibaug from a sleepy hamlet to an extended trans-harbour economic hub across Mumbai’s redefined shoreline,” concluded Dr Niranjan Hiranandani.
Dr Niranjan Hiranandani is Founder & CMD, Hiranandani Communities. He is also President, National Real Estate Development Council (NATION), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.