Reliance Industries Limited, India’s largest publicly listed company is all set to enter in real estate market. Mukesh Ambani has prepared the blueprint for a megacity near Mumbai with investment worth 75 billion dollars in the next 10 years. The project would be of the scale of Jamnagar refinery, the largest refinery in the country and Jio- the largest company in terms of telecom revenue. RIL will develop the project and administer it through a special planning authority. Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ), the special purpose through which the project would be implemented, already owns 4,300 acres of land near Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust. A new airport is also coming nearby. So, the newly built megacity would be easily accessible through land, air and sea routes.
The megacity would be built and managed on the lines of Singapore. This is the first integrated industrial project in Maharashtra. Jamshedpur and Jamnagar are other integrated industrial projects in the country. “This is the single-biggest ‘projects within project’ initiative by the Reliance group, whereby every component in the project will be a project by itself,” said a person closely associated with the project. “Like Jio, it would create a buzz in the country, in terms of quality and affordability,” he added. The city is expected to accommodate half a million people.
The newly built megacity would be easily accessible to South Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. It would bring down the real estate prices in South Mumbai and decongest the main city. “With direct road connectivity, this will also change Mumbai. It could lead to reverse migration, with prices in the new city to be lower than Mumbai,” said a real estate analyst.
RIL is known to work for monopoly in the markets. In the early days of the business, Dhirubhai Ambani, father of Mukesh, monopolized thread-making business, and Mukesh Ambani did the same in oil refining and telecommunication market. The leadership style of Mukesh Ambani epitomizes the traditional Indian style running a Hindu undivided family business. He involves himself in every large-scale project and is known for his ability to visualize, conceive and implement mega projects down to the last screw and nail. He has planned and overseen some of the country’s grand projects, including the Rs 15,000 crore Reliance Petroleum plant in Jamnagar, the single biggest investment in post-liberalization India. He is 24×7 businessmen with a low profile and workaholic persona; he hardly interacts with media except on company’s annual day functions.
The state government controlled city and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) owns 26 percent in NMSEZ and the rest of the share is owned by Anand Jain, promoter of BSE-listed Jai Corp, Nikhil Gandhi, founder of SKIL Infrastructure, and personal investment vehicle of Mukesh Ambani. All the other owners of NMSEZ are close associates of Mukesh Ambani and work on the project is expected to start very soon.
The project was first envisaged by Dhirubhai Ambani. “This (the project) will be the realisation of the dream of late Dhirubhai Ambani, who had the first offered to build a world-class city in Navi Mumbai in the 1980s, with direct road connectivity from South Mumbai to Navi Mumbai. The project would have been a superior version of South Mumbai and decongest Mumbai,” said a source. The land for the project was acquired back in 2005 but it could not take off for one and a half decades because the Maharashtra government’s SEZ rules were not supportive. The Devendra Fadnavis led BJP-Shiv Sena government amended the rules to make space for the industrial project. When the project becomes a reality, it is expected to revolutionize the real estate sector in the country.