Urbanisation is an inexorable process as far as India is concerned. The future of IndiaÆs growth lies in its cities and a large chunk of our gross domestic project (GDP) will come from urban centres. It goes without saying that our existing cities were never planned to deal with the exponential levels of population growth currently witnessed. What can be worse than witnessing civic resources being stretched beyond limits.
Housing infrastructure will naturally be tailored for the requirements of each industrial zone, its geography, and the needs of the prospective residents. Alkesh Sharma, CEO and MD of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC), explains: ôThey will have around 12 layers of trunk infrastructure below the ground, and everything above it will be integrated using smart, digital technology.ö For example: In the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), DMICDC has planned eight smart cities for the Phase I of the project. Out of eight smart cities, four of them-Dholera in Gujarat, AURIC in Maharashtra, Vikram-Udyogpuri in Madhya Pradesh and IITGNL in Uttar Pradesh-are in the implementation stage, with laying of roads and utilities still in progress.
Dholera, with a total footprint of over 920 sq km and a developable area of 540 sq km, is India's largest upcoming Green City with a target residential population of over two million and an employment for 8,00,000 people by 2040. Phase I of the project covers an activation area of 22.5 sq km. It is the first city where all utilities are being laid underground, including gas, power, ICT networks, potable water, recycled water, sewer pipes and stormwater drains. It has all the capabilities to handle the future demands of the city.
At the heart of the smart city concept is the ICT infrastructure, which in the case of Dholera will be based at a City Integration Operation Centre (CIOC). The CIOC will synchronise all functions, including traffic management, safety and security, emergency response, utility services, telecommunications and civic administration. ôDholeraÆs plan incorporates such features as efficient mobility planning; 100 per cent treatment and reuse of waste water; 100 per cent collection of solid waste with no public dumping of waste; stormwater management and rainwater harvesting,ö Sharma told IT.
In contrast to Dholera, which has a large parcel of land, the Integrated Industrial Township in Greater Noida is a relatively smaller project, covering about 302.63 hectare. It targets direct employment for around 58,000 people and has earmarked 10 per cent of the project to residential and around 15 per cent to open spaces. Due to land limitations, the Integrated Industrial Township Greater Noida (IITGNL) is targeting a more vertical growth and its housing infrastructure will be in accordance with those requirements. Like other smart cities in DMIC, IITGNL too will have state-of-the-art residential amenities with 24x7 water distribution system, urban design accommodating public transport routes, street network planning, and solid waste management system with a goal of zero discharge, SCADA for remote monitoring and control and ICT in the form of command and control centres. Housing and civic infrastructure is similarly benchmarked to the highest standards in Aurangabad Industrial Township and Vikram Udyogpuri and other cities in various stages of planning.
Public buildings will be erected on the basis of the green building concept. Green buildings use less water, optimize energy efficiency, conserve natural resources, generate less waste and have minimum impact on environment. The offices of NRDA and Housing Board Corporation are examples of such buildings.
The smart city is also accoutred with an underground utility corridor, which means that services including water supply, sewerage, telecom and electricity are developed underground. Roads are lit with LED lamps and garbage containers are set up at every 500 m across the main streets. Also, NRDA is in consultation with institutes like IISC and IIT-Bombay to develop a suitable plan for waste management and disposal system for the city.
The other city management systems include intelligent lighting systems, pay and use parking systems, a digital city guide map, intelligent transport system, city level Wi-Fi touch screens across the city, display boards across the city for providing real-time information, emergency alert and crisis response systems, traffic re-routing applications based on real time traffic data.
GIFT draws water from the main Narmada canal at the southern side of the city. Here, water will be pumped out from the existing intake point through a pipeline to meet GIFT city's requirements. Importantly, if any impediment occurs during this process, it gets resolved beforehand as the entire operations are managed through a SCADA system and monitored by a command and control centre.
The vision for water infrastructure is to provide potable quality water (24x7) in all taps in the city. The water supply system is planned to provide water on demand. And since GIFT aims to become "water neutral", the water from the canal, stored along with the buffer stock in the reservoir (called Samruddhi Sarovar) will be conveyed to the water treatment plant for treatment and further distribution.
Now, since the entire operation is integrated, the city has got decentralised sewage treatment plants which are interconnected. Here, the wastewater system will consist of collection, treatment, and reuse of wastewater for GIFT's requirements. The wastewater is collected and conveyed to the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The treated water will be used for flushing, landscaping and for a district cooling plant, enabling GIFT to become a ôZero Discharge Zoneö.
GIFT city is the only city in India which has implemented a cooling system at a level where not a single building in the city needs to be equipped with individual air conditioning. The district cooling system is 20 per cent more cost efficient mainly due to less occupancy of space, and the absence of noise pollution and vibration. Besides, for district cooling system operations, it draws water from the STP, making it an environment-friendly process.
The city has decided to make the entire area free from human intervention, especially for the collection of waste and its management. GIFT has India's first fully integrated automatic waste collection plant (AWS). Envac's automated waste collection system and recyclable segregation plant has been in operation since April 1, 2015.
Each building is equipped with two Envac chutes, which are fed into one of seven on-site collection stations, covering organic waste and mixed recyclables. Here, the Envac chutes are equipped with sensors which suck the garbage at a speed of 90 km/h and then get segregated into two parts: waste for recycling and the rest for bio-processing.
It is expected upon completion that the AWS will handle the waste of the entire district, which is expected to be over 400 tonnes per day generated from GIFT CityÆs 25,000 apartments, 100,000 residents and a working population of over 500,000. The siteÆs retail zone will also attract between 25,000-50,000 visitors each week.