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Greenfield cities will provide sustainability to the residents

Greenfield cities will provide sustainability to the residents

In an interaction with INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMICDC) believes that the detailed planning of these cities addresses the distribution of social and physical infrastructure, besides ensuring provision of open spaces and parks, and housing for the economically-weaker sections (EWSs) based on a consultative process engaging the locals.

In the context of migration, rapid urbanisation, demographic pressure, and crumbling infrastructure, what according to you are the important elements that need to be considered while planning a greenfield smart city?
Globally, cities account for around 3 per cent of land area, but house over 50 per cent of the world’s population, which is forecast to increase to over 70 per cent within this century. It is reported that urban areas are expected to house 40 per cent of India’s population and contribute 75 per cent of India’s GDP by 2030. The current burden on existing cities should be reduced and new dynamic economic centres be developed as greenfield cities.

While planning greenfield smart cities, it is essential to identify them around key economic drivers like existing or planned industrial hubs, SEZs, transport nodes, major ports, and in the vicinity of major developed cities. Environmental sustainability should be the defining focus of the overall urban planning and management. Other major elements include enhancement of quality of life, employment generation, creation of investment opportunities, and export potential.

How would greenfield smart cities provide superior quality of life and infrastructure in urban India?
Greenfield smart cities being developed from scratch clearly offer tremendous opportunities to plan the highest level of standards in terms of facilities and infrastructure delivery. Greenfield smart cities will provide a high quality of life, work, environment, and sustainability to the residents through superior urban planning and adequate provisions for base utilities and control of resources. The detailed planning of these cities addresses the distribution of social and physical infrastructure, provision of open spaces and parks, and housing for the economically-weaker sections (EWSs) based on a consultative process engaging the locals.

Highlight the government policies that would drive the development of greenfield smart cities…
Indian economy is currently witnessing its most vibrant phase since the days of liberalisation, and has emerged as the most sought-after investment destination globally. With the resounding success of GoI’s enabling policy framework, progressive reforms, and revolutionary economic measures-primarily the Make in India mission, Ease of Doing Business, Industrial Corridors Project, Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, etc.-the Indian economy is creating new benchmarks of progress and achieving new milestones of success. These policies and initiatives will enable increasing the GDP of the country, especially its share of manufacturing in GDP.

That said, how can greenfield cities create world-class platforms for absorbing foreign investments and making India a base for global manufacturing?
Each greenfield smart city under DMIC is being developed by separate special purpose vehicles (SPVs) comprising National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust (NICDIT) and the state nodal agency by signing legal frameworks (SHA/SSA) to ensure effective integrated planning, coordination, and implementation of the various components.

The formation of a single separate SPV in the case of such greenfield projects helps overcome the challenges of inter-departmental cooperation and coordination that other exiting cities face and, most importantly, sets a transparent governance structure for effective operation and management.

The SPV will host all city services and applications, ranging from public services to public safety. The seamless interface structure will aim to achieve proactive governance in these cities.

Specific to a greenfield city such as yours, tell us about the recent developments and current status…
Activities related to construction of trunk infrastructure in the DMIC cities are progressing well. About 35 industrial plots have been allotted in Shendra Industrial area, Aurangabad, Maharashtra. HYOSUNG corporation is the first anchor investor in Shendra with land allotment of 100 acre and an overall investment of Rs 30 billion. Participation from the private sector is a prerequisite in the development of these cities. Tenders for all major infrastructure projects – airports, logistics hubs, city services and infrastructure utilities, ICT components, etc. – are in the pipeline.

How have recent regulatory changes been impacting these cities?
Regulatory implications, such as introduction of GST and relaxation in FDI norms, have created a positive impact in the development scenarios. We are highly optimistic for a booming growth coupled with major infrastructure development under the industrial corridors programme.

– RAHUL KAMAT

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