What is NAINA?
NAINA is a city planned around the Navi Mumbai International Airport. The acronym unfolds to “Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area”. NAINA occupies land within a 25-kilometre radius of the airport. Roughly 600 square kilometres. It has been described as a financial centre and, in November 2014, it was described as, potentially, “the biggest smart city in India”.
When was it formed?
The city was formally announced on 13 January 2013.
What is its purpose?
In the government’s own words, “to avoid unplanned haphazard growth around the proposed airport”. In real terms, this means that growth will be closely monitored and approved only by the planners in charge of NAINA.
What exists on NAINA land at the moment?
There are 270 villages across NAINA, and several independent hutments. There are multi-story buildings, apartment complexes, big homes, schools, banks, clinics, farmhouses.
If all this exists, what’s NAINA about?
NAINA will give it form. There will be “high-growth” zones, “mixed-use” zones, parks, schools, and all kinds of other things that form the backbone of city life.
What’s happening in NAINA right now?
NAINA’s officials are holding consultations with residents to figure out their concerns. They published a development plan in 2014, but decided to hang on, pause proceedings, and check with locals first. When a plan is agreed upon, the first of four phases will commence. The first phase contains 23 villages.
What are those concerns?
Land acquisition and development charges, mostly. Many residents have said that NAINA’s existing rates for people who want to build structures on their land are exorbitant (point 7, on the link). According to the 2014-15 economic survey, Raigad – where most of NAINA will come up – has a per capita net district domestic product of Rs 1,32,122, and current development charges for even 100 square metres would surpass it easily. Residents and builders also say there’s a disconcerting lack of information available about exactly what shape NAINA will take.
Why are you reporting on NAINA?
There are legitimate reasons for NAINA’s existence: overcrowding in Mumbai, the lack of affordable housing, scarcity of open spaces. And yet this story could be told anywhere. Except for a few large factors: its proximity to Mumbai, its role in the future of the region, the inflow of money, and the numbers who will be affected by its existence. Then there’s the neighbourhood’s history with land difficulties, how an influx of money has changed lives. NAINA is the latest development in an area that’s seen churn for decades. We see, today, the effects of old choices in the several jobless wanderers in Panvel. We also see the positive influence of wealth in places such as Kharghar, in Panvel, where locals fought for and won greater compensation. As the conversation over smart cities and land acquisition gathers steam, what happens in NAINA will be closely watched. It is, loosely speaking, that most cherished of ministerial expressions: a pilot project.
When will it be over?
On a cosmic scale, soon.