Documentary On Vasai Tourism


The Vasai-Virar Mahanagar Palika has created a documentary on Tourism in Vasai. This 40 minute documentary is written by Sanjay Parab and voiced by Makrand Anaspure and Sheetal Kale. It was commissioned on the 27th of December 2013 with an initial budget of Rs. 9,50,000.

The documentary explores the various places in Vasai such as Vasai Fort, Arnala Fort, the beaches in Vasai, Jivdani Temple, St. Gonsalo Garcia Church, Vajreshwari Mandir, Tungareshwar, Kaman Fort, Vagholi Shani Mandir, Nirmal Shankaracharya Mandir, Giriz Hira Dongri Dutta Mandir, Sopara Buddha Stupas and other places were captured in the video.

Tree Census by VVMC


The Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) has undertaken a seven month long project of conducting a Tree Census of all trees in the Vasai-Virar region. Terracon Ecotech Pvt Ltd has been appointed to carry out the survey of trees. The agency will record the species, height age and health of the trees. There are over five lakh trees in the region and those on both private and government land will be counted. The agency will look for the local and botanical names of the trees. An amount of Rs 55 lakhs has been earmarked by the municipality for the tree census.

The decision to survey and identify different types of trees was first mooted in May 2011. It was given the civic general body sanction in February 2012. On January 3, this year the standing committee finally approved the agency for carrying out the survey. The survey is likely to be completed in the first week of July. The agency will also map details of mangroves and identify the green zones in the region. Areas which need more trees will also be identified and new trees will be planted by the municipality. This will be the first tree census to be undertaken by the municipality since its formation in July 2009.

VVTC Gets Rolling

Events, News

The Vasai-Virar Transport Corporation, the transport wing of the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation started its own bus service in Vasai on Wednesday, 03rd October coinciding with the birthday of Hitendra Thakur.

The bus routes are as follows:

  • 101 – Vasai Road Railway Station (East) to Sativali
  • 102 – Vasai Road Railway Station (East) to Pelhar Fata
  • 103 – Vasai Road Railway Station (East) to Evershine City
  • 104 – Vasai Road Railway Station (East) to Vasant Nagri (Bhavani Park Chowk)
  • 105 – Vasai Road Railway Station (West) to Killabunder
  • 106 – Vasai Road Railway Station (West) to Sai Mandir, Navyug Nagar, Deewanman Nageshwar Mandir, Ambadi Road, 60ft Road
  • 107 – Vasai Road Railway Station (West) to 100ft Road, Sun City, DJ Nagar Garden, Samata Nagar Ganesh Mandir, Maitri Park, Ambadi Road
  • 108 – Vasai Road Railway Station (West) to Om Nagar, Dhuri Complex, Gokul Aangan, Krishna Township, Saptarshi Garden, Panchwati Naka
  • Vasai Road Railway Station (West) to Chulne Village via Manickpur Naka
  • Virar Railway Station (East) to Phoolpada
  • Virar Railway Station (East) to Jivdani
  • 201 – Chandansar to Vasai Court/Tasildar Office via Narangi Fata, VVMC Head Office, Virar Railway Station (East), Manvel Pada, Nagindas Pada, Tulinj, Achole Police Chowki, Achole Road, Vasant Nagri, Evershine City, Panchwati Naka, Ambadi Road, Manickpur Naka, Bhabola Naka, Papdy, Tamtalao, MSRTC Vasai Depot, G. G. College, Princess Park

Some pictures of the buses.

Vasai-Virar Trasnport Corporation RoutesVasai-Virar Trasnport Corporation

Vasai-Virar to have own bus service

Events, News

The burgeoning population of the Vasai-Virar municipal region living in far flung areas will no longer be burdened by the sharp hike in auto-rickshaw fares. For, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) is set to launch its first bus fleet in October.

The swanky new buses, 50 of which will first run on the Navghar-Manickpur Road route, will in due time expand to cover the entire Vasai-Virar region using its full capacity of 380 buses. Apart from bringing relief to the thousands staying at places far from the railway station and in villages, the bus service will give special concessions to students and senior citizens.

“The buses take their color from students, who are represented by the yellow while the green represents the greenery of the Vasai region, the area they will ply in,” said Bharat Gupta, Sabhapati Prabhag Samiti, Ward-D, VVMC. To be run and maintained by the Mumbai-based Bhagirath Corporation Pvt Ltd, which will dispense salaries of the conductors and drivers employed in their buses. Also, the firm will pay VVMC an annual revenue per bus.

Stating that “the demand for a bus service had gained momentum due to the sharp rise in commuters in the region, VVMC Mayor Rajeev Patil said, the bus service will be provided to people at cheap rates. “While initially, contractors will run the service, in the future we will undertake all its operations,” he added.

Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon is now National


In only its second year, the Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon has got the tag of national-level event after getting an approval of the Athletics Federation of India.

The race will be held on October 14 and will carry an enhanced prize fund of Rs 17 lakh.

“Last year, the inaugural edition of the race was a state level event. This year we have sought and got approval from the Athletics Federation of India and it’s going to be a national-level event,” said a spokesperson for the organising committee at a media conference on Thursday.

“We expect a very good field from the army, railways and others. Army’s chief coach K S Thomas has assured us that a strong field of runners would be sent (for the men’s full marathon). There is a possibility that Ram Singh Yadav would also be seen in action.

“The AFI has said it would be sending out invites to all the units affiliated to it. This is seen as a good tune up for the Mumbai Marathon (to be held in January next),” the spokesperson added.

Yadav was the country’s sole entrant in the men’s marathon held on the concluding day of the London Olympics on August 12, having gained a berth through the Mumbai Marathon – in which he emerged as the fastest among Indians – held in January.

The men’s full marathon winner would pocket Rs 2 lakh, up from Rs 1 lakh given last year, while the winner of the women’s half marathon would be richer by Rs 1 lakh, the same prize being earmarked for the corresponding men’s champion.

Last year, the men’s winner got Rs one lakh and the total prize fund was Rs 15 lakh. There would also be different age group events for boys and girls, along with those for those above 50 years of age.

The organisers – Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation and Vasai Taluka Kala Krida Vikas Mandal – are also going to provide the full marathon runners with timing chips, by charging them Rs 200 each, it was announced.

Vasai-Virar municipal corporation’s mayor Rajeev Patil said that like last year this year too providing protection for the girl child would be the main theme of the race.

“Save the Girl Child and Maintain Nature’s Balance” would be the motto of the marathon, he said.

The organisers are also planning to invite a top former athlete to be the event’s brand ambassador.

They have also roped in model and former national level swimmer Milind Soman to support the event. He will also take part in the full marathon on behalf of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, the NGO he is associated with.

Content sourced from TOI

2 Crores in 2 days for VVMC


The Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) has begun recovering Local Body Tax (LBT) and has managed to collect a record Rs 2 crores in two days.

The LBT was introduced in the Vasai-Virar region in April 2011 after it was replaced by octroi. The civic administration, however, was unable to meet its target due to untrained staff and shortage of manpower. Traders and businessmen too were unclear about the percentage of tax to be paid for various products. Traders had complained of the exorbitant taxes compared to other municipal corporations in the state.

The VVMC recently brought down the LBT on various products which came as a respite to small and medium sized industries and traders. The civic administration also conducted a workshop for employees involved in the collection of LBT.

The VVMC has succeeded in collecting a record Rs 2 crores by way of LBT from traders in the region in two days. A total of 36,500 traders have been registered for collection of the levy and more traders are being encouraged to pay the local tax. The municipality is making efforts to get traders from villages in the region to pay the levy. A number of villages that come under the gram panchayat are against paying the tax. The villagers are fighting a court battle for non inclusion into the VVMC.

Last year, the civic administration managed to collect only Rs 1.50 crores as LBT. This year the target has been raised to 300 crores.

Vasai-Virar: The new promised land?


For most residents of Mumbai and its extended suburbs, there is a crying need to find affordable houses.Unfortunately, even most spaces meant for affordable housing eventually began offering apartments for middle and high income groups.

All of a sudden, there is the possibility of the Virar-Vasai belt emerging as the hottest destination on the Western corridor in Mumbai.

What were the reasons behind such a development?Will the housing sector become more attractive in Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) rather than, say, in Panvel? That people have already begun flocking to this region is evident from the Census figures which show a surge in numbers – from 7 lakh people in 2001 to around 13 lakh in 2011.

To discuss this phenomenon, DNA decided to bring together a panel of some of the most eminent spokespersons to explain what Vasai-Virar holds out for common home-seekers. The panel included (in alphabetical order) Ashok Mehta – chairman – Vinay Unique Developers; Ashok Mohanani – chairman and managing director, Ekta World; Rajeev Patil, mayor, VVMC; Shiv Reddy, deputy director, town planning, VVMC, Kshitij Hitendra Thakur, MLA, Maharashtra Assembly from Vasai-Nalasopara. The discussion was moderated by R.N.Bhaskar of DNA and edited excerpts from this event are given below:

DNA: Why should Virar be such an important subject and not any other place? For consumers, business community, builders, developers, for the common man. It seems to be the Promised Land, it seems to be the most exotic destination. Why?

Patil: It is the largest station on the Western Railway, a suburb that is also close to Mumbai. You are within an hour’s distance from the most important places — Tarapore MIDC [the industry region developed by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation], Thane Corporation, Mumbai Corporation, Navi MumbaiCorporation, Dombivli.Even the Mumbai airport, both domestic and international are just an hour away. So it is centrally located.

The MMR [Mumbai Metropolitan Region] that we have and which as of today extends till Virar will soon extend to Dahanu. This extension is a necessity. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway goes from Virar, the Western Railway goes through here, the Konkan Line passes through here. One can travel by sea from here if need be to reach certain places. One can reach Gujarat GIDC [Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation] from here within an hour and thirty minutes. Even the new international airport in Navi Mumbai can be reached within an hour and a half from Virar.

Once the Virar-Alibaug Corridor is built, one will be able to traverse from Virar to the new airport then Nava Sheva Port and then Alibaug within an hour and a half. You know that the five industry centres in this region — Vapi, Mumbai, Alibaug, Nashik, and Pune, are rapidly growing. These centres boast of industries; the population is sizeable.

Another important fact about Virar is that it is the source of water. There are the three rivers — Tansa, Vaitarna and Surya — which flow by Virar. Surya and Vaitarna’s catchment receives more than 100 inches of rainfall every monsoon. That is why, in the near future, the whole of Mumbai will get its water from the Thane District. The big Pinjal Dam Project, which is vital to Mumbai, is in close proximity to Virar. The second stage of the Surya River project is under implementation and will solve our water problems. The sub river Susri has a project happening on it. So in the coming days, within 3-4 years, 400-500 mld [million litres a day] of water will be available. The requirement for our 15 lakh population according to new rules is approximately 200 mld, we get 130 mld currently and some have their own sources. So our council has committed per man 100 litres of water.

All this makes Virar important. Another main point is the small-scale industries that are being set up here, due to which people get employment. Currently, many people at Virar seek employment at Tarapore MIDC. Our education facilities are good. We have 7 senior colleges, 20 junior colleges. Whatever people want, be it education, water, employment, basic amenities, we have it all.

Our corporation needs to build a hospital. But Mumbai being so close, people have access to all. Our area will become a central place. Our corporation area is around 380 square kilometres. Mumbai is 400 square kilometres and our Taluka is 560 square kilometers. We have much more land. So because of this, in a few years, when the Virar-Alibaug corridor is done, then Virar and Nariman Point will have very little difference between the two. Good builders have come in, good construction is taking place. Good business will follow and so will good people. It is like a virtuous cycle — if the facilities are not good, then the people who come are not good either. Now we have given the wheel of our fortunes a little push and good facilities are coming up. A good city is definitely being developed quickly.


Mohanani: What we have seen over the last few years, maybe half a decade, is that Virar has grown manifold. The primary reason is that it is at the threshold of Mumbai. There is very good railway connectivity to and from Mumbai. In 2007 the railway line has quadrupled in Virar. Then there is a large forest cover and a scenic charm there. Travelling is just about 1 hour from Bandra Terminus, Mumbai. Tourism is doing great. There are a lot of forests being developed. The corporation has sanctioned a huge amount. There are 2 famous forts.


DNA: Which are they?


Patil: One is the Vasai Fort and another is the Arnala Fort.

Mohanani: We have beautiful temples here, as well.

Patil: There is a religious Jain temple. There are Buddhist shrines. Nallasopara was one of the best historical places. Trading took place here since 2000 years ago. Legends have it that Buddhism went to Sri Lanka through Nallasopara to get there. It is like a gateway. There are beautiful churches, a lot of greenery. We have many protected forests — a 11,000-hectare forest cover.

Of this some of the forest has got destroyed.So, every year, we plant 20 lakh trees to do up the forest cover. These are the lungs of Mumbai.

Mohanani: We also have Vrajeshwari, the thermal springs. As for the 20 lakh trees, we have a budget and we have sanctioned of Rs 8.16 crore toward planting these trees. The total budget the corporation has assigned is about Rs 810 crore last year. This year’s budget is about Rs 1,266 crore. That is phenomenal for a new corporation [VMCC was set up only two years ago].

We also have provision for a bird sanctuary and hanging gardens at Virar. These are part of the future plans. We also have the Virar-Alibaug Corridor, which will make life so much easier. We expect to spend about Rs 10,000 crore on this project. It willconnect to all the national highways; NH-8: Mumbai-Ahmedabad, NH-3: Mumbai-Agra-Delhi, NH-4: Mumbai-Chennai and NH-17: Goa-Manglore-Kerala. This will thus become a central focus place, a hub, once this corridor takes shape. Much of it is already done — 90 kilometres from Virar-Panvel is ready. The second phase is from Panvel to Alibaug. Apart from that, the Bandra–Versova Corridor, that is the Coastal Corridor, will get extended first to Malad and then to Virar.

Patil: Our corporation has land which are used by saltpans and the lease is expiring in 2014. They account for around 1500 acres of land and we have offered it to MMRDA [Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority], for developing a business centre like the BKC [Bandra-Kurla-Complex], as a commercial hub. If such a complex can be built here, people will get employment, IT [information technology] hubs can opened up there and the people from this region will get good employment opportunities. Just as there is a Pragati Maidan in Delhi with a big exhibition centre, we wish to have the same here on 200 acres of land.

Reddy: Basically I am a city planner. So if you go back into the planning process of Virar, you will find that in 1970 a visual plan of the MMR region was sanctioned by the government. In that Vasai-Virar is in the north-east corner and is the last part of the region. In the 1970s this entire part was a part of the green zone in the MMR plan, except for some railway stations [Virar, Vasai, Nallsopara, etc.] In these areas certain development was allowed.

So even though these areas were in the green zone, the government made efforts to bring planned development to these areas. Coming to 1988, this green zone has been converted into an urbanizable zone. So now Vasai-Virar has become a single entity. At that time the MMRDA was appointed as the planning authority, but CIDCO [City Industrial Development Corporation] replaced MMRDA in 1991. By availing all the latest technologies, a development plan has been put up and it got approval from the government in 2004. Thus the entire Vasai-Virar is now considered as a single unit. It has a legally published development plan for implementation.

If you see the demography of Virar city, in 1961 it was 24,000 only. In 2001 it became 1,31,000. In 2011 it is expected to be 2,91,000 and by the end of this planning period it is 4,65,000. So, this is the area where we have anticipated an almost 100% increase in population.

For any plan to become successful there should be employment opportunities to sustain the population. In the eastern part of Virar, the huge industrial land of about 500 hectares roughly do this. That is why we believe that Virar has the possibility of beoming an independent city.

Thakur: There are many reasons why there has been a 100% population growth over the past few years. But the basic reason I can think of is that Mumbai is getting very expensive. So a lot of people are moving toward Vasai. The price for a 1,000 square foot apartment is around Rs.35-40 lakhs, which is half the price of what you will be able to get by selling a similar apartment in Dahisar or Borivali.

So what people do is shift into the Vasai-Virar region, take that 40-50 lakh apartment and end up investing the rest in properties or other prospects. So that’s one reason why people prefer shifting here. The highway connectivity and the rail connectivity is not as good in places like Thane. So people are shifting here from Thane.

A lot of people want a better standard of living and are thus shifting here. The infrastructure is a little better than Dahanu. So people are pouring in here from everywhere. As Patil said earlier, it is centrally located, 1 hour from most places. So moving anywhere is easy from the Vasai-Virar sub-region.

Also, Nallasopara was a business hub from the 1st century. There were 2 brothersGajanand and Gajasen who started a business and that time it was one of the most important ports in India. So we are also planning to make this as a port. So we have spoken to the authorities and have been met with positive reactions.

We are not sure where the funding will come from. You asked whether Vasai-Virar could become like South Bombay. We are in talks with a couple of consultants.One of them is Singbridge, which has helped develop the Guangzhou SEZ in China. We have spoken to them and they have shown interest in developing our region along the lines of Guangzhou. One of the major requirements is to earmark a minimum of 2000-3000 acres to develop a small SEZ.

It will be an 18-year project. When we initially met them they were talking about 7000 acres, which is quite difficult, especially to get all this land in one place. But now, we have worked out a smaller area.

We haven’t signed any contract yet. But the plan is to develop around 2-3,000 acres to make it like Guangzhou. We will need to acquire the land through the Mahanagarpalika [municipal corporation] or through private parties.

One of the sectors we hope to develop aggressively is tourism – we have a lot to display — forts, churches, historic temples, monuments dating back to King Ashoka. Through the Mahanagarpalika we have added a reservation of 60 acres to develop a tourist zone specially related to Buddha. A couple of Japanese priests had come over in February this year, and they are willing to invest money and develop this place. Last year, Maharashtra state chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad announced plans to restore and preserve the stupa, located in Mardes village, and said that he would convert this location into a tourist hotspot. The stupa, known to be built under the reign of King Ashoka, falls under the control of the Archeological Survey of India, but had remained largely neglected. Gaikwad also donated an 8 ft Buddha idol and the MP of Thailand had come and assured us that his country would be willing to invest money in developing the earmarked 60 acres of land as a Buddhist site.

Further, there are hot water springs and temples.

In addition to tourism, we are looking at healthcare and medical tourism. We are also encouraging colleges in the area to get the maximum number of courses through the government.

So that is where we see Vasai-Virar in 15-20-25 years – a city like Bangalore or Delhi and Pune– an education hub.

About the salt pans, we have already spoken to MMRDA and have submitted letters to the CM to develop these lands on the lines of Bandra-Kurla Complex. We have spoken to him about IT and ITES [IT enabled services]. We are looking at. KPOs [knowledge process outsourcing companies] and BPOs [business process outsourcing] because many of the employees that currently work with KPOs and BPOs in Mumbai and Pune actually come from Vasai-Virar.

DNA: For the growth of a city you need the intrinsic features we talked about. You need excellent connectivity and education. But as part of social infrastructure, we also need good healthcare. Are you getting investors to put in money for developing healthcare?

Thakur: Yes. We are in talks with Seven Hills and there is one other hospital, which I would not like to name, it is a UK-based hospital, which is looking at locating its centre in our region. We are coming up with one hospital through the VVMC. Obviously, if you are talking about healthcare tourism, it is not possible without hospitals.

DNA: You will need good medicare also for the local population. Business comes in when an employee can put his family there for schooling as can also avail of decent medicare.

Thakur: We are developing the hospitals that already exist. We have submitted our letters to the CM to hand over all the public hospitals to VVMC. Also to hand over the Z

Vasai-Virar Marathon


The first Vasai Marathon to spread the message “Save the Girl Child and Maintain Nature’s Balance” flagged off at 7 am on Sunday September 18.
Former Asian track queen P T Usha was the brand ambassador of the event. The marathon offers prize money in excess of Rs 15 lac and is spread across the 10 race categories to attract the best athletes from the state. The event, flagged off from Viva College in Virar, passed through Nallasopara and Vasai before finishing in Virar.

This was the first marathon held in the region. Deepchand Saharan, an Army subhedar who hails from Churu in Rajasthan and is training at the Army Institute in Pune, won the 42-km full marathon with a timing of 2 hours, 28 minutes and 3 seconds. Bhaskar Madhukar Kamble of Washim (Raigad district) came second crossing the finishing line nine minutes after Saharan.

Western Railway’s Kiran Prayag Tiwari emerged triumphant in the open half-marathon (21km) for women. She reached the finishing line in 1 hour, 18 minutes and 21 seconds, a minute before second-placed Lalita Babbar.

Here are some clicks from the First Vasai-Virar Marathon.

Following are the Final Results:

Men (Open) (42 k.m.): Deepchand Saharan Mohansingh (Pune) 2.28.03; Bhaskar Madhukar Kamble (Vashim) 2.37.26; Nilesh Waman Bodhe (Chandrapur) 2.39.16; Bhima Sawlaram Shinde (Nashik Police) 2.40.50; Kalidas Dahikale (Pune) 2.41.10.

Vasai Taluka: Don Disilva (Vasai) 2.56.10; Sandeep Pandirkar (Virar) 3.20.06; Sandip Tulaskar (Vasai) 3.34.00.

Boys u-20 (11 k.m.): Bharat Krishna Gharat (Vasai) 40.01.08; Shubham Sudhakar Taral (Virar) 40.10.03; Hitesh J Patel (Virar) 40.10.09.

Boys u-17 (5 k.m.): Salim Salman Khan 25.17.08; Gurunath Dinesh Mhatre 27.10.08; Virendra Yadav 27.47.07.

Boys u-14 (3 k.m.): Shohaib Mustakh Mansuri 11.08.01; Shubham Rakesh Yadav 12.08.00; ; Radhe Sagar Gupta 13.20.00.

Women (21k.m.): Kiran Prayag Tiwari (Western Railway) 1.18.21; Lalita Babar 1.19.23; Priya Prakash Thoke (Mumbai) 1.20.25; Sangeeta Yadav (Mumbai) 1.22.53; Reshma Chandrakant Dalvi (Pune); Swati Deviprasad Sarode (Amravati) 1.25.49.

Vasai Taluka: Darshana Sitaram Khandekar (Virar) 1.37.05; Sangeeta B Mohankar (Chandip) 1.50.07; Priya Pradip Surve (Nalasopara) 2.17.15.

Girls u-17 (5 k.m.): Divya Suresh Padvi 20.05.06; Kavita Ankush Khandekar 27.23.09; Megha Prabhakar Patil 28.10.01.

Girls u-14: (3 k.m.): Itkar Chaya Shridhar 13.10.08; Gaikar Shilpa Jagdish 13.19.01; Amisha V. Jadhav 13.23.04.