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It's currently the largest under-construction development in the world and could be India's urban showpiece.
If UP chief minister Mayawati is dragging her feet on the DMIC city in the Dadri-NOIDA-Ghaziabad Investment Region, her counterpart in Gujarat, Narendra Modi, has put Dholera on the fast track. Currently the largest development under construction anywhere in the world, Dholera is the biggest of the proposed seven new cities. It will be built in phases with the first phase expected to be ready for occupation by 2018.
The proposed new city is 110 km from Ahmedabad on the Bhavnagar route. Although spread over 903 sq km, only 540 sq km will be developed with the rest reserved for parklands, green areas, and a black buck sanctuary. The pattern of development is polycentric. In other words, there will be several business districts and industrial centres, each with their own residential complexes, schools, hospitals, shopping areas, and recreation spots so that residents do not have to travel long distances for their daily activities.
The driver of urban development in India is demographics. Cities like Dholera are being planned keeping in mind the country's increasing young population, its needs and ambitions. For young managers and workers of the future, education, health care and entertainment will be important concerns, which is why the master plan for Dholera places great emphasis on providing quality facilities in these areas. DMIC CEO and MD Amitabh Kant points out, "Urbanisation is a civilisational process. We want to foster a sense of community in these new cities so that they become home to the residents. "
The most unique feature of the Dholera development is the pooling concept that has been adopted for the acquisition of land. At present, the Dholera region is a collection of 22 villages with a population of 36, 000. This is flood-prone area with a single cropping pattern. What the planners propose is to make the present residents stakeholders in the new city. The villagers are not being given compensation for their land. Instead, they will get back developed land in commensurate percentages. Skill development programmes are also being planned to make the villagers employable in the industries and businesses that will come up. In short, people are at the heart of this enterprise.
PROMISES TO KEEP
The entire city will run on a BRT system that can be converted into a light rail transport system in the future Every housing, office, and industrial complex will be within 10 minutes walking distance of some form of public transport The manufacturing zone has been planned keeping in mind the windflow pattern so that industrial pollution flies out of the city The city will rely heavily on solar energy for its power requirements although a dedicated 1, 300 MW power plant is planned It will have modern waste management systems and facilities to recycle sewage water for industrial use All utilities including parking spots will be underground so that there is enough space to build pavements for pedestrians and dedicated cycle tracks It will be divided into five business districts and two knowledge zones Housing has been so designed through the mixed use pattern that the work place is close to the residential complex Dholera will be connected to the world through a new international airport on its outskirts, to the rest of the country through a new railway line and to Ahmedabad through a ten-lane highway A hierarchy of roads, from the main ten-lane artery cutting the city into two to four-lane interior streets, is planned for smooth traffic flow and proper intra-city connectivity.
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