Tata’s Affordable Township Development at Boisar, Thane, India: An Unqualified Success

Located in Boisar East, around 1.5 km from the railway station is Tata’s integrated green township. The townshipis spread over 63.5 acres and houses two kinds of projects.

  • Low Cost Housing named Shubha Griha
  • Affordable Housing named New Haven

The township is complete in all aspects – community centres, recreation facilities, schools, hospitals, etc. The green design incorporates features such as maximum natural ventilation, glazed windows, energy-saving compact fluorescent lights, solar public lighting, open and green landscapes, rain water harvesting, etc.

Shubh Griha – Low Cost Housing (Sold Out)


Tata Housing’s Nano flats were sold at a starting price of around Rs3.9 lakh. Consisting of 1RK (360/283 sqf ) & 1 BHK (465 sqf) apartments the complex was sold out at approximately Rs1,400 per sq ft. Subha Griha is an integrated township with school, playground and hospital facilities. The complex consists of Ground +2 buildings with a large community centre, gardens, special retail and hawking zones.

Developing land on a joint ownership basis with land owners, Subha Griha ensured that capital was not blocked and costs remained low. It incorporated new low-cost construction technologies, such as prefabrication. Steel and cement vendors and suppliers were locked on long-term contracts. Marketing and distribution costs were drastically reduced. While normal costs hover at 5 per cent of project costs, in the case of the Shubha Griha scheme, the marketing costs were capped at less than 2 per cent.

Most of the advertising was through press reports and advertisements at railway stations and bus depots. It relied heavily on word of mouth. Distribution of application forms (for low cost housing) was outsourced to other partners, including State Bank of India. For a scheme of 1,000 flats more than 7,000 customers queued up to pay the booking amount for the flats. In the midst of the frenzy, Tata Housing managed to get the number of flats increased from 1,000 to 1,300 and allotted the flats by lottery.

Shubh Griha scheme unique is that as much as 35-40 per cent of the buyers are in the unorganised sector, people who hitherto had no access to formal housing funds. Another unusual aspect of the scheme is its customer-friendly design. The flats have been designed specifically to suit the lifestyles of the target audience. For instance, the flats come with ready lofts for storage, large living rooms that can be converted into extra sleeping areas at night, toilets that are distanced from the kitchen etc. The residents of Shubh Griha also serve as domestic help (maids, servants, drivers, peons etc.) for residents of New Haven.

Affordable New Haven


The New Haven was affordable housing targeting primarily middle/senior managers and executives of SMEs of Boisar/Tarapur. Majority of the flats of New Haven are booked by JSW and TATA Steel to accommodate its work force. Tata New Haven has its own educational facility, club house, health care, shopping centre, swimming pool, gymnasium, gardens etc.

The two-BHK (690/820/930 sqf) and three-BHK (1200/1380 sqf) flats in New Haven, with areas ranging from 690 sq ft to 1,380 sq ft, were sold at Rs 1,900 per sq ft initially. With both phases I and II sold out, Tata Housing has recently fully sold out phase III at an average price of around Rs 2,200 per sq ft. The response to New Haven has been phenomenal.

Boisar – An Emerging Centre for Affordable Housing Around Mumbai

Boisar is a town in Palghar taluka and in Thane district. It has grown by leaps and bounds in recent times. It is situated about 80 km from Mumbai, and is very close to the Gujarat border. There are Shuttle/MEMU trains from Virar to get to Boisar. Most long distance trains also stop at Boisar. There are regular state transport buses from Palghar, Thane, Bhiwandi and Wada to get to Boisar as well. According to industry experts, interest in this region, was triggered by Tata Housing’s entry into Boisar with their township project.

Boisar town has more than 1,500 industrial units, with renowned companies like Tata Steel, JSW Steel, BARC, Tarapur Power Station, etc., providing employment opportunities for people in Boisar and adjoining areas. In addition, there is also the MIDC industrial area, with a population of around 1.25 lakh and around 10 lakh people in the neighbouring villages of Boisar. Boisar is currently governed by the ‘gram panchayat’ and is slated to come under a municipal council in the future. Although the general infrastructure in Boisar is okay, the water and drainage facilities leave a lot to be desired.

Boisar houses two huge industrial estates:

 

  • Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, Tarapur Industrial Estate
  • Additional Tarapur Industrial Estate

 

The primary groups of companies present in industrial estates are

 

  • Bulk drug manufacturing units (Lupin, Aarti Drugs)
  • Specialty chemical manufacturing units (Ganesh Benzoplast, A.M. Todd Company, Maharashtra Organo Metallic Catalysts, Galaxy Surfactants, New Alliance Dye Chem Pvt Ltd, S. D. Fine Chemicals)
  • Steel plants (Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, Mukat Tanks & Vessels)
  • Textile plants(Siyaram, Aceelene Suitings, Pantaloon, Dicitex Decor)

 

The profile of people that are moving to affordable housing complexes in Boisar town is very similar to Palghar:

 

  • SME Owners & their Senior Managers, Senior Engineers / Middle Manager, Junior Engineers/Factory Workers. However one important difference is that due to better social infrastructure (better schools, hospitals, retail options like Big Bazaar) a lot more senior managers/engineers and SME Owners actually live in Boisar. Besides integrated township developed by Tata Housing has significantly improved the lifestyle and social infrastructure.
  • Residents of villages close to Boisar
  • One more segment of people who have brought homes in Boisar is the employees of Tarapur Nuclear Power Plant. They have been active in investing in flats on the Boisar-Tarapur road.
  • Second home seekers and investors from Mumbai

The demand for quality residential property is certainly on the rise. The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), through its Konkan board, will also develop around 500 plots for sale to the lower, middle and higher income groups. Apart from the demand potential, availability of large tracts of land in Boisar at reasonable prices is yet another attraction for developers foraying into the affordable segment, here.

Boisar is a good example of what Palghar can be, esp. if an ambitious project of like the Tata is executed.

Real Estate Development in Boisar

Most of the residential development in Boisar is being done around two specific areas:

  1. Boisar-Tarapur Road in Boisar West
  2. Around Tata Housing Township in Boisar East

The residential projects on Boisar-Tarapur road are specifically concentrated around TAPS Colony and Parnali Naka. These sites are anywhere around 3-6 km of Boisar railway station. It is not possible to acquire large tracts of land close to Boisar station and therefore TAPS Colony & Parnali Naka is preferred areas where large tracts of land can be acquired. While residential development near Boisar station would be a good option for people commuting to Mumbai, the residential development on Boisar-Tarapur road is quite convenient for people working in Tarapur MIDC industrial complex. This road is well served by public transport, auto rickshaws and is quite close to modern retail and shopping area of Boisar which is next to the railway station.

Boisar East is fairly undeveloped as compared to Boisar West. However using Tata Integrated Township as an anchor a large number of projects are coming close to the Tata Township using the amenities provided by Tata as a significant draw. Land availability on the eastern side is not a big problem. Residential rates in the vicinity of railway station are around Rs 3000 psqf but there are no new developments available close to the station.