CIDCO Focuses Transparency : Sanjay Bhatia

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Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman & Managing Director, CIDCO

With big infrastructure projects coming up across Maharashtra, introducing transparency is crucial to become citizen-friendly as an organisation, observes Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman & Managing Director, CIDCO, in an interaction with Kartik Sharma of ENN

Can you give us an overview of CIDCO?

The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited was incorporated on 17th March 1970 under the Indian Companies Act, 1956. In 1971, CIDCO was designated the New Town Development Authority for Navi Mumbai. For our new town projects, we have undertaken areas like Navi Mumbai, New Aurangabad, New Nashik, New Nanded, Vasai-Virar sub-region, Waluj Mahanagar, Meghdoot-New Nagpur, Chikhaldara Hill Station, Latur Fringe Area, Oros Sindhudurg, Aurangabad Fringe Area, Khopta, Jalna New Town and NAINA (Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area).

CIDCO has been declared as a special planning authority in Maharashtra for developing new towns. The biggest new town that we have developed is Navi Mumbai, which at present has a population of 20 lakh, and today it is endowed with an entire gamut of infrastructure facilities.

Please highlight any two achievements of CIDCO under your leadership as the CMD.

I joined CIDCO one-and-a-half years back, and one of the biggest achievements would be to undertake the proposed development of a new airport at Navi Mumbai called Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA). It would be one of the world’s largest ‘greenfield’ international airports, with world-class facilities for passengers, cargo, aircraft and airlines. It is expected to absorb 10 million passengers annually in its first operational year in 2017 itself. This project had been languishing since 1997 and we were able to push it last year.

Secondly, we are working on lot of transparency issues through e-governance. Earlier, CIDCO was not a very citizen friendly organisation, but now we are going for citizen-centric programmes. All the files for land allotment have been put on kiosks and our board resolutions and agenda notes are now available online. Thus, nobody needs to file an RTI now to get any facts from us.

Can you provide details on your smart city initiative?

Under the smart city initiative, we have 14 new towns and out of them 10 are in advanced stages. There is another huge city coming up, which spans across 600 square kms. It’s called NAINA and it would be a smart city from the very start of its development.

At all our locations we are going in for smart city initiatives. We started with Geographic Information System (GIS) of land records as there was no mapping. When we acquired the land, nothing was regulated. We are relating everything through the GIS mapping so that there is a complete record of every property.

Second thing we are focussing on is implementing CCTV surveillance system within the city of Navi Mumbai to help police maintain law and order, attain faster turnaround time for crime resolution and investigation, and improve traffic management.

Also Read: Mumbai Port Geared Up Tackle COVID Crisis: Sanjay Bhatia

What are your expectations from the government when it comes to policies that would provide ease of operation?

The new land acquisition act has come, but in NAINA project we are not undertaking land acquisition because we are going for a joint venture. But if we do not get partner for joint venture we will opt for land acquisition. If the current land acquisition act is simplified, then it would bring speed to the process.

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Are there any specific CSR initiatives of CIDCO?

Our activities under the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative was the reason we got the airport project rolling. When the land was acquired from the project-affected people, it became our duty to fulfil our responsibilities towards them. So, we started the GIA programme. We are constructing basic infrastructure like roads, primary health centres, schools, water, sanitation and other basic amenities in every village. This is how project affected persons got convinced. Shortly after I joined, we invested Rs. 200 crore for CSR and development in their areas.

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We have also taken up another programme called Employability Programme. We are providing vocational employability programme to 8,000 village youths, between 18 and 35. To promote this programme, many education institutes and job agencies have also tied with CIDCO.

“We are focussing on implementing CCTV surveillance system to help Navi Mumbai Police to maintain law and order, attain faster turnaround time for crime resolution and investigation and improve traffic management”

What are future plans for CIDCO?

NAINA project is our biggest venture as of now. Airport project in Navi Mumbai is another and we think that we would be able to finalise our partner by coming March-April. There is another project connecting Mumbai to Navi Mumbai, a sea link, a length of about 20 kms. We are also working on a project jointly with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for an EPC project so that this sea link can take place when the airport work is happening. If by 2019, the airport works get ready, by 2020, the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) will probably take place. We are also developing number of new metro links in Navi Mumbai.

What is the current turnover of your company and how much are you looking forward to?

We can do as much sales as we want, but it depends upon our expenditure requirements. Last year our expenditure was Rs. 1,200-1,300 crore, but now it is increasing with airport and metro projects. In the next 2-3 years we will be able to reach Rs. 5,000 crore in revenues also.

We are also targeting economically weaker sections (EWS) and Low Income group (LIG) housing. We started EWS and LIG housing scheme, and during the inaugural ceremony, within the first hour 7,000 booklets were sold for 3,000 houses. This clearly shows that there is tremendous need for such houses. So, we have decided that every year, we will be constructing 10,000 houses for EWS and LIG housing plans.

How was your experience at the Lonavala Knowledge Exchange?

I attended the first session and it was very interesting as I came to know about certain new things. Shikhar Pradeshi told us about the grievance redressal system called ‘Saarthi’. I am going to pick that initiative and apply in CIDCO directly. So, with the help of this initiative I am already in talks with Shikhar to bring in his initiative to my organisation. Besides, CIDCO is partnering with ICICI for e-payment system. So, I would like to thank Elets for organising this forum where enterprises can meet and discuss not only issues but also potential solutions.

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