Land price in and around villages in Kalyan has shot up due to rumors that the proposed new international airport in Navi Mumbai will be moved to Kalyan.
This has sparked off a buying and selling frenzy in Kalyan that has left some in a happy mood and others deeply concerned.
The Navi Mumbai International Airport, which was announced a few years ago, was planned to be constructed at the Kopra-Panvel region through public-private partnership. After the announcement of the airport, the residential prices in Kharghar and Belapur in Navi Mumbai which were in the range of Rs 2,500-3,000 per sq ft had went up above Rs 6,000 per sq ft by the end of 2008, said reports.
When this proposed site ran into trouble over environmental clearances, a few experts pointed towards the 1670 acres of land already in possession of the defence ministry near Kalyan. Also last week, Jairam Ramesh, Union Environment Minister, had expressed his unhappiness about setting up an airport at Navi Mumbai. Now, plots in Kalyan are being sold in small chunks of one guntha (roughly 1,089 sq ft) for around Rs 3 to 4 lakh each. Just a few years back, an acre of land in Kalyan could be bought for Rs 4 to 5 lakh.
Shailendra Iyanger, a real estate investor at Kalyan said that some of the real estate brokers in Kalyan had contributed in spreading the rumor that the government will move the site from Navi Mumbai to Kalyan. He said that the speculation that an airport may come up in Kalyan has suddenly triggered a lot of interest among investors, and added that the rates have zoomed up to Rs1 crore per acre.
But in August 2007, former national security advisor M K Narayanan had communicated to the then chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, that the airport could not come up in Kalyan as the area was near the site for a research and development laboratory of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). The NSA had said that the BARC site could not be shifted. And the state government continues to put its might behind Navi Mumbai as the preferred location for the proposed airport. We will probably have to wait a little while longer to know where the airport would finally rise.