New passport office turns Mundhwa Road into a commercial hub

Eateries, photostat shops, notary offices have sprung up in no time and are doing a brisk business in the area frequented by hundreds

In October this year, Sukhdev Nana Gaikwad opened a vegetarian restaurant, Yashwant, near Passport Seva Kendra on the Mundhwa Road. The decision, he says, was a calculated one. "Hundreds of people visit the passport office on a daily basis from various parts of the city and even from the outskirts. Opening a decent eating place in the area made sense, considering there are hardly any restaurant in this area," says Gaikwad. The place now feeds almost 400 to 500 customers a day.

"I am quite confident that very soon I will break-even because the response has been extremely encouraging," says Gaikwad, a resident of Pingle Vasti (Mundhwa Road).

Tapping into the 'business' opportunity since PSK opened on Mundhwa Road a few months ago, a number of small and medium business set-ups have mushroomed in the area — restaurants, fast food joints, notary offices, Xerox centres et al. Besides Yashwant restaurant, other eateries that have opened recently in the area include Sagar Biryani House and Roll Mania.

In order to ease the pressure off the passport office on Senapati Bapat Road, the authorities opened another branch on Mundhwa Road a few months ago. While new passport applications are received at the Mundhwa Road office, the old one on Senapati Bapat Road processes Tatkal passports only.

Around two weeks ago, Shahaji Tulsidas Kokate, a resident of Hadapsar, started Sagar Biryani House near PSK. "People from districts like Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur come to the PSK for passport-related work. Often, they have to be there for long hours. It made sense to start an eating joint here," says Kokate, adding that it has been just two weeks into the business but he has received good response from the customers.

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