Airport shift to affect Navi Mumbai property prices
By: Varun Singh
Real estate experts say that developers advertised proximity to proposed airport; predict 20 per cent fall in prices|
With the crash-landing of the Navi Mumbai Airport, experts believe that the real estate bazaar will also suffer. According to experts, if the proposed second airport is shunted out from Navi Mumbai, real estate prices will drop up to 20 per cent further. G S Gill, vice chairman of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) even said, "The airport will make Navi Mumbai a metro city or it will be like another Dombivili or Kalyan."
Most developers in Navi Mumbai, while advertising for their projects, had proximity to the airport as one of the major points in their brochures and advertisements. If the proposed airport doesn't come up, real estate prices in areas like Kharghar, Kamothe, JNPT and other important areas will fall by more than 20 per cent. Rupesh Parekh of Bhagya Kootir, a real estate brokerage firm situated in Navi Mumbai, said, "The rates in Navi Mumbai have already come down by 40 per cent, but if the proposed airport is shifted, the rates will further drop by 20 per cent."
Manohar Shroff, Secretary, Navi Mumbai Chamber of Housing, also echoed the same emotions. "If the airport in Navi Mumbai is dropped, the sentiments of the buyers will be shaken. It will result in low sales," added Shroff.
However, builders claim that it will not have much effect on their sales. Vineet Malhotra, chairman of Arrow Manhattan Engineering that has projects near the Navi Mumbai SEZ nearly nine kilometres away from the proposed airport, said, "The airport is for the classes and not for the masses. It will affect only two to three per cent of clients. Projects at Kharghar and nearby areas will be affected." However, Malhotra's project caters mostly to NRIs, who, as he puts it, belong to "the classes".
Rajesh Prajapati, founder president of the Builders Association of Navi Mumbai, says proximity to the airport was one of the plus points for purchasing real estate in this area, but not the only one. "The airport is an attraction, but people haven't bought real estate because of it.
"Infrastructure and education are the biggest attractions. The government should decide whether to dump or clear the airport plan. It's been more than 15 years now," said Prajapati. Apart from builders, the farmers whose lands are being priced at Rs 1 crore per acre will suffer. "We won't find any takers," said Parekh.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh wrote a letter to the chief minister, suggesting that the state should look for another site for a second international airport. The airport, if ever developed, will be through the public-private partnership and is estimated to cost Rs 3,200-4,000 crore. It will handle 50-55 million passengers annually. The letter from the environment minister points out that the chosen site includes 150 hectares of mangrove land and 340 hectares of coastal marshy lands, including 118 hectares of water body.