Did competition force MSRDC to put theme park on hold?
Ambitious project along Mumbai-Pune Expressway to be stalled; while officials cite financial unfeasibility as reason, sources claim potential rivalry from existing park at Khopoli compelled MSRDC to reconsider
It appears that Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is putting its grand plan of setting up a theme park on an 80-acre plot along Mumbai-Pune Expressway on the back burner.
Though a few of its functionaries say lack of financial viability of the project was the key reason for the postponement, sources claim the decision was taken considering the tough competition it would face from Adlabs Imagica, which is already a hit among people. “Though we are yet to take a final decision, plans are afoot to keep the theme park project on hold. One of the motivations is the competition our amusement centre will face from the one developed by a private firm near Khopoli,” an MSRDC official said.
A few months ago, the development agency had invited tenders for setting up the park along the expressway and a few of the themes suggested were Bollywood, Indian culture, sports and entertainment. The facility was to be developed at Savroli, which is about 35 km from Panvel off Khalapur on the expressway. MSRDC had also floated an expression of interest in 2012, inviting consultants to come up with appealing themes, for which it received good response, as nine private players submitted ideas.
In 2008, a consultant had submitted a plan for commercial development of land along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The suggestions included business management park, hospital, residential townships, warehouses, clinic, malls, agriculture research centre, resorts, IT SEZ, gaming zones, camping sites, theme park, and so on.
In all, 23 locations were identified for such facilities, of which nine were shortlisted for development, including Savroli. The other eight areas were Sanjgaon, Sarsan, Thaneave, Kurwande, Dongargaon, Kusgaon, Urse and Parandwadi.
It is a theme park on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and is owned and operated by Adlabs Entertainment Limited. The Rs 1,600 crore park, which was opened in April, spreads across 300 acres.