Life goes on usual for Sahara Group’s Aamby Valley City property, two days after the Supreme Court of India seized Subrata Roy’s Rs 39,000 crore project to recover dues. Nothing changes for the employees at the 11,000-acre township in Lonavala as they are yet to hear from the head office about any future actions.
The Aamby Valley City is an iconic project for the Sahara Group and is also said to be their crown jewel. With both residential and commercial establishments, it is located around 100-kms away from Mumbai and can be described as India’s first planned hill station. The signboards on way to Aamby Valley advertise that this city has India’s first amphibian transport system. The township has a number of star properties and independent bungalows inside for which it has a triple-layered security which makes it impossible for any unauthorised entry. The township also has a private airfield for high profile visitors and the bungalows are mostly occupied during the weekends, or on vacation. The owners are based either in Mumbai or Pune, among other cities. Most visitors come to Aamby Valley to attend weddings or other celebrations.
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While the senior management functions out of Mumbai, over 600 employees run the establishment; the senior management functions out of Mumbai. All the residential employees are housed either at the staff housing quarters nearby or in Lonavala. A daily shuttle service runs to ferry them and all the daily necessities are brought from Mumbai.
The Aamby Valley City provided employment to the residents of the eight villages surrounding it. According to a villager, who works as a gardener in the township, ‘the hospital inside has made it easier for them to access medical services.’ When the news of the Supreme Court order to attach Aamby Valley reached the villagers, they were left ruffled. One villager said, “Whoever buys the property will require people to run this establishment, so we will always find employment there.”