Mumbai to become ‘WiFi city’ with 1200 hotspots: CM Fadnavis

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday declared that Mumbai will be made a WiFi city, complete with 1200 hot spots under its ambitious smart city mega-project by May 1, 2017. The process of building 500 hospots would be completed by November 1, 2016.

Pledging to make the commercial capital a world class city, Fadnavis said, “Along with technological transformation using high bandwidth, transport and affordable housing remains our top priority that would smarten the commercial capital.”

The government wants the life of Mumbaikars made more easy by providing better and faster services to avoid the hardships of daily grind, Fadnavis said.

While spelling out his plans for Mumbai’s makeover, Fadnavis said, “An integrated transport system will provide real time information and date on a mobile app on route, along with the exact seats available in the metro service.”

The WiFi project includes smart parking and smart transportation, which will cater to half a million Mumbaikars who commute daily using various modes. The 1200 hotspots would include prominent structures such as Gate Way of India, Chowpatty etc dotted across Mumbai and its suburbs, which could be spruced for tourism.

The chief minister also revealed the government’s plan to unlock land towards construction of 10 lakh affordable houses.

“The biggest concerns relates to affordable housing which is beyond the means of the common citizens. Now, our endeavour is to bring down the land prices which is responsible for the high cost of houses in city,” he said.

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Giving details on the land mapping in Mumbai and extended suburbs, he said, “Almost 63 per cent of the areas of MCGM is non-developable. Only 37 per cent areas is available for development.”

Fadnavis said that the area which is being tapped for housing covers 2100 hectares. Referring to the salt pan land as another option, for affordable housing, he said, “Of the total 2,177 hectares, majority of the land comes under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) category one and three, which makes cannot be used for construction. Only 400 hectares of salt pan land can be used for housing projects.” The projection is it would generate two to three lakh houses.

“Under the affordable housing our target is to create ten lakh houses. The cost of houses are high in Mumbai because of exorbitant land prices. The construction cost varies between 1,500 to 3000 per sq ft,” the chief minister said. “If unlocking of land to create surplus affordable category houses are built both through public-private partnership, it will drastically bring the cost down. I would appeal to all members across party lines to support our affordable housing project.”

He disclosed that the housing for all by 2022 project, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saw Maharashtra presenting the maximum number of projects — 17 for 1.7 crore houses. The Centre has provided Rs 1500 crore and state will pitch in Rs 967 crore.

While admitting that the Dharavi redevelopment has not received the desired response from developers, he said, “The government is now working on an alternative route. We may approach the project through SRA or other housing model. But we are committed for redevelopment of Dharavi.”

Under the AMRUT scheme, 44 cities shortlisted for development complete with solid waste management, infrastructure and housing have been sanctioned Rs 4000 crore.