New Delhi: What was initially planned as an investment corridor along the proposed Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) between Delhi and Mumbai may give India its first world-class, self-sustainable smart cities if plans by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corp. Ltd (DMICDC) are implemented.
The DFC between Delhi and Mumbai, covering an overall length of 1,483km and passing through six states—Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra—will have end terminals at Dadri in the National Capital Region and Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai.
The feasibility studies for the first three “smart cities” are set to be commissioned through Japanese consultants in the current year. The first phase of urbanization in these cities is targeted to be completed by 2017-18, said Amitabh Kant, chief executive and managing director of DMICDC.
“When initially we thought about DMIC, we did not think of building new cities, but later we realized without world-class cities, no industrial hub can thrive,” Kant said.
“DMICDC provides India a unique opportunity to adopt futuristic smart city concept of minimal pollution, maximum recycling and reuse of finite resources, optimization of energy supplies and consumption-efficient use of public transportation in its new cities,” a prepared press statement read.
Towards building these new global cities, DMICDC and the state governments of Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and Japanese consultants will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for pilot projects in areas such as the Manesar-Bawal region (Haryana), the Sendra industrial region (Maharashtra), and Dahej and Changodar (Gujarat).
The MoU will be signed on Friday in the presence of commerce minister Anand Sharma and Masayuki Naoshima, Japanese minister for economy, trade and industry.
Japanese companies such as Toshiba Corp., Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp. and Hitachi Ltd will experiment with smart technologies in the areas of logistics, water treatment and urban transport before they are implemented along the industrial corridor.
When asked whether land acquisition will be a problem, Kant said: “We are working on a unique model of community partnership where landholders will be made partners in the process of development.”
The first set of such cities may come up in Gujarat and Maharashtra. A proposed city at Dholera in Gujarat is planned to attract a resident population of about two million and provide employment to more than 0.8 million people. More than 20% of the area will be under green belts, Kant said.
The total cost of the projects is calculated at Rs55,225 crore at current prices. The other two cities that may come up are in the Nasik-Sinner-Igatpuri investment region and the Dighi port industrial area in Maharashtra. The projected population at Dighi port is 1.75 million by 2042 with a total land requirement of 23,000 hectares. The Pitampur-Dhar-Mhow investment region in Madhya Pradesh will be built up in a delineated area of 372 sq. km.
The proposed industrial corridor is being developed in collaboration with the government of Japan as global manufacturing and trading hubs.
The regions will have road and rail connectivity for freight movement to and from ports and logistics hubs, apart from domestic and international air connectivity, reliable power, quality social infrastructure, and will provide a globally competitive environment conducive for setting up businesses.
“Around 80% of these cities will be developed through the public-private partnership model while the government has to build the basic infrastructure,” Kant said.
During the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to India in December, an MoU was signed between DMICDC and Japan External Trade Organization to develop “smart communities” or eco-cities in India.
Japan has been the front-runner in introducing sustainability concepts through various innovative planning and implementation models that incorporate industrial ecology, waste water, renewable energy, among others. “Kitakyushu eco-town” in Japan is one such example.