By Accommodation Times News Services
Ahmedabad is the largest city and the erstwhile capital of Gujarat with a population of slightly more than 56 Lakhs as per the 2011 census. It is an important industrial and economic hub of the country with well-developed sectors such as communication, construction and commerce. It ranked third in Forbes’ fastest growing cities of the decade in 2010. In 2017, the historical old Ahmedabad was declared as India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City.
Among other things, Ahmedabad has carved its name for path-breaking infrastructure projects that have been emulated in other states of the country. It all began with the Ahmedabad development plan developed by the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) which was first sanctioned in 1954. However, the first step towards Ahmedabad of today was taken in 2002 when AUDA revisited the erstwhile development plans. Since then, the AUDA has prepared meticulous plans for the next 20 years which is revised every 10 years, which is more frequent than any other city in the country. The planners envisage the growth directions and input infrastructure plans accordingly, to ensure the healthy growth of the city.
Notable achievements in infrastructure in Ahmedabad
Several measures were taken in Ahmedabad which when duplicated can address a lot of problems in other cities. Let us take a look at those:
The municipal corporation expanded the built-up area from 186 sq.km to 466 sq.km in 2006 which helped balance the population influx with the living area. This also helped in reducing the congestion of the city centre leading to expansion of peripheral areas which started developing as residential hubs.
As per estimates, 89% of the allocated funds of the 2002 plan were utilized, making it an exemplary implementation rate for any city development plan conceived in India. This implementation was the main reason why, despite population growing from 4.5 million in 2001 to 6.4 million in 2011, Ahmedabad did not suffer from the chronic problems like illegal construction, shortage of roads or traffic congestion.
Well-crafted road network:
One of the biggest positive for infrastructure in Ahmedabad is the concentric road network. It plays a major role in preventing congestion and promoting the expansion of the peripheral areas. The city centre and the peripheral regions are covered by 5 ring roads and 17 radial roads, all quite broad to accommodate the traffic influx. The congestion experienced in the city, even during peak office hours, is low compared to other cities. While congestion has increased over the past couple of years, it is still low.
Well-developed Public Transport system:
One of the main focus areas for infrastructure development in any city is the public transport system and Ahmedabad scores quite high in this respect. The AUDA developed public transportation system in a way that the main city is not congested, yet the peripheral townships are well connected. The most exemplary achievement has been the Bus Rapid Transit System, which we have dealt with in details in the next point.
Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS):
Ahmedabad’s BRTS has been appreciated by many and emulated in Indore after its success. Named as ‘Janmarg’, it was inaugurated in 2009 and is currently 89 kilometres long, helping almost 3.5 Lakh passengers daily. The BRTS has a mix of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses including 220 Euro III and Euro IV compliant diesel buses. With 14 well-defined roads, the BRTS connects almost the entire city gaining the Silver title on BRT standard in 2013.
Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) city:
Another crown jewel of Ahmedabad’s infrastructure development is the GIFT city which is India’s first operational smart city. Designed keeping walkability in mind, this city has both residential (22%), commercial (67%) complexes and social (11%) facilities. The city covers 886 acres of land with 110 buildings and 58 Lakh sq.ft of built-up area.
The city is located around 12 kilometres away from Ahmedabad, on the bank of Sabarmati River and can be accessed through 4 and 6 lane state and national highways. The double corridor metro system is also being planned to access the city from the airport and various parts of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
The city has several infrastructure features such as automated vacuum waste collection, underground utility tunnel, and district cooling system, most of which is first of its kind in India. The city is being developed in 3 phases – each phase being sustainable to survive on its own. At present around 200 units are operational, employing around 7500 people.
Civic Amenities in Ahmedabad:
Located on the side of Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad has all the civic amenities that one can think of. The cost of living is pretty reasonable and quite low compared to the capital cities of other states. It is a safe city to live in, with people being mostly humble and friendly. It packs in itself modernization as well as authenticity. Ahmedabad proudly hosts some of the most prestigious educational institutes of the country – IIM Ahmedabad, NID, MICA, GNLU being some of them.
Real estate development:
With a strategic location and is a booming commercial hub, Ahmedabad’s real estate sector has also grown by leaps and bounds. With the effective growth of infrastructure, prospects of housing have also grown manifold. The city has been a place for investment for NRIs as well. The growth of the GIFT city, the development of the Golden Quadrilateral and the upcoming airports add to the attraction of the city.
It is a good location for investment as well as to settle down, with real estate being quite affordable. Prime locations include Ranip (Rs 4600 per sq.ft.), Chandkheda (Rs 3200 per sq.ft.), Naryanpura (Rs 5300 per sq.ft.) and Chanakyapuri (Rs 4100 per sq.ft.). The average cost of property ranges between Rs 43-52 lakhs in the budget segment, while luxury projects can cost above Rs 90 lakhs. Plush localities include Navarangpura, Rajpath Club Road, SG Road, Prahlad Nagar, Thaltej, Sindhu Bhavan Marg and others.
A well-planned city has the potential to grow and house happy residents and Ahmedabad completely fits the bill. The infrastructure planning is definitely something that other cities should learn from and try to inculcate.