India leap flogging from small scale projects to mega scale wonders, creating enormous potential for investment and job creation. Jai prakash Shivahare, IAS, Managing Director of Dholera Industrial City Development shares his views, on how transforming India creating avenue and fresh opportunities, with EPC World
In the last couple of decades, the world’s population is increasingly shifting to urban areas. As of today, 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this is set to increase to 68 per cent by 2050. As per projections by the UN, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India will add another 416 million people to its Urban Population by 2050. This may further kick off demand for high end mega infrastructure development across the sectors, mostly in transportation, energy and urban development. Perhaps, it will have enormous potential of job creation in the country.
Jai Prakash Shivahare, Managing Director of Dholera Industrial City, says, “Given this pace of urbanisation, India is likely to face challenges in meeting the needs of its growing urban population in terms of housing, transportation, energy and other infrastructure along with employment and other basic services.”
Urbanisation has become an inexorable part of the economic development. The human productivity and associated wages from industry services have often concentrated settlements on urban agglomerates. For many cities, increased population, largely due to migration has compelled them to redraw its urban boundaries, often carving into adjacent townships, villages leaving urban planners at mercy for intricate infrastructure expansions.
According to Shivahare, in last two decades, India has witnessed rapid urbanization and now there are 60 cities with more than a million population. The colonisation of large migrated workforce around the industrial settlements in cities has led to enormous deficiencies in urban structure leading to un-sustainable development and economic inequalities.
In order to consolidate and accommodate this mass migration, Government of India, has undertaken several initiatives which have given way to mega projects, nucleated around development of industrial clusters, connectivity and increasing India’s exports. Some of the key mega projects include the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the eight Greenfield Industrial Townships along the DFC being built by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Corporation (DMIC) and the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail. “Many naysayers criticise mega projects as being unaffordable and unnecessary. However, history has proven that a mega project which increases connectivity, mobility and creates infrastructure will almost always benefit the area and nation in the long run,” said Shivahare.
In India, mega connectivity projects like Bharatmala will boost the economic development. The coming decade is bound to experience tremendous pressure to efficiently build and administer the civic infrastructure e.g. water, wastewater, storm drainage, power, recycled water, solid waste and transport systems in the Indian metropolises. The 100 Smart Cities Mission, a program being administered under the Ministry of Urban development, is a mega project which will transform the existing cities. For building Greenfield industrial townships which will collectively increase India’s manufacturing GDP from the current approximately 15% to over 25%, DMIC has embarked on building eight Greenfield industrial townships/cities. These Greenfield cities are being built under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and hence are different from the 100 smart cities mission. Shivahare, who is heading the vertical for one of the Narendra Modi’s pet projects, detailed about the Dholera Industrial City near Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Dholera Industrial City Development Ltd (DICDL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and partnership between Govt of Gujarat and Govt of India is developing the India’s largest Greenfield smart industrial township. DICDL is investing Rs 3,000 crore in trunk infrastructure for an area of 22.54 sqkms (2,254 HA).
Dholera will be a leading example of how mega initiatives in Smart Cities will transform India and increase the manufacturing GDP. In addition, Dholera is building an ultra-mega solar park of 5000 MW capacity. “The first phase of 1000 MW will be tendered out by end of this year. Investments close to Rs 25,000 crore is expected for this ultra-solar park,” Shivahare said.
Dholera is also building a Greenfield airport at a cost of Rs 2,000 Crores, a 6-lane access controlled expressway between Ahmedabad and Dholera and a Metro Rapid Transit System (MRTS) between Ahmedabad and Dholera which will reduce the commute between Ahmedabad and Dholera to less than an hour. Such mega connectivity and city building projects are bound to transform the region into a vibrant commercial corridor and urban areas.
In order to build a world class city, replete with the best technology, the first step was to conduct a benchmarking study of the best performing cities in all aspects of infrastructure i.e. water, wastewater, transportation etc. We took the best performing city for each discipline and then designed Dholera to meet or exceed the parameters. For example, in water, Dholera with an elaborate SCADA system and recycling is planned to have no more than 5% Non-revenue Water (NRW), will be the best in the world. This means that the life cycle cost of water for businesses in Dholera will be much less than other cities. On the power side, the entire distribution network is underground which will cut losses drastically resulting in much cheaper power tariff. Cost conscious business who wantscompetitive tariffs, ease of doing business and the best urban life for workers and families will prefer Dholera over other cities.
“One might ponder over Dholera’s ultimate development of 920 sqkmsand its socio-economic benefits against the expenses that will be incurred. However, history proves such efforts to be productive with a multifaceted contribution to the economic growth,” said Shivahare.
Nearer home, Hazira and Dahej industrial clusters have transformed Surat and whole South Gujarat region into vibrant industrial and economic powerhouses. Dholera is planned to be a game changer in India’s tryst for rapid industrialisation along the industrial corridors.
It’s been a long and exciting journey to build Dholera from ground, encouraged by the fact that mega projects will transform the socio-economic fabric of the nation. Many lessons were learned along the way in way of creative engineering and design in a low lying flat terrain and implementing the world’s best program management tools to collaborate and manage several consultants and contractors simultaneously. These will become the major stepping stones for new green field cities in India. “The mega city building and connectivity projects around Dholera are sure to transform the entire region and corridor between Ahmedabad to Dholera into a major, vibrant metropolis. Dholera will indeed be the role model for all future cities in India,” Shivahare added.
@EPC World Media