By -F. B. Khan
Former Deputy Secretary,
Urban Development Department,
Government of Maharashtra.
The Cities are now engines of growth. The States are vying with each other to project the cities in them to attract FDI. Gone are the days when goal was to make cities livable. With urban development receiving right impetus, the cities are being revamped with infrastructure, re-development, cluster development, to make them great places to live in. Every passing day gives us news of some new happenings of development. The new terminologies have been coined as smart city, digital city, intelligent city.
The Budget Speech delivered by the Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram, on 28th February 2013 contains proposed development of seven new cities, including two smart cities as a part of $90 – billion Delhi, Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Project. These two smart cities are Dholera in Gujarat and Shendra Bidkin in Maharashtra.
Dholera is a port city covered by water on three sides, namely Gulf of Khambat, Bovaliari Creek and Sonana creek. Having a locational advantage it is in for a manufacturing base and investment opportunities. It is a part of Golden Quadrilateral, the 500 km Mumbai – Ahmadabad – Vadodara Express. Considering its accessibility on airport and a full fledged part and railway connectivity are planned. A 10 lane expressway is also planned. The City has proximity to US $35 million port cum SEZ project of Adani Group. As per the CM, Narendra Modi it will surpass New Delhi in development.
The other smart city planned is Shendra – Bidkin. These are two large villages about 17 and 24 kms. away from Aurangabad city respectively. They are being planned as an Industrial Township. Shendra already has a 5 star MIDC. As a part of DMIC, the Government of Maharashtra has decided to develop Shendra Bidkin belt, to act as major investment node. The Industrial Park is to come on 8400 hectares of land .Renowned US from AECOM has been roped in as a consultant for planning the township. A Japanese consortium is proposed to be associated to recommended use of technology for infrastructure development.. An Exhibition and Convention Centre is being developed at Shendra.