Dholera, Gujarat’s Future Green City in Manufacturing – From Solar Park to Chip Maker Center in India | Daily News Byte

Dholera, Gujarat’s Future Green City in Manufacturing – From Solar Park to Chip Maker Center in India

 | Daily News Byte


Dholera (Gujarat): Lush green fields, farmers who love to grow crops, villagers sitting outdoors in their beds, cows roaming around – the rural scene when entering the village of Dholera, about 100 kilometers southwest of Ahmedabad, is quite a contrast to the light, high. A new technology industrial city is coming up in the vicinity as part of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project, Dholera, will, in fact, be the first and largest of the eight green industrial cities planned under DMIC to leave the drawing board. Built on a large undeveloped area, the “smart city”, which has been dubbed for its use of technology and information, is also expected to house Foxconn-Vedanta’s $20 billion semiconductor factory.

Overall, the Dholera Special Investment Zone (DSIR) covers 920 sq km, covering some 22 villages. Currently, most of the infrastructure development is taking place in the 22.5 sq km area of ​​DSIR, called the activation zone.

With both the Center and the Gujarat government pumping in funds, work in the area is progressing rapidly and the first phase of Dholera smart city is expected to be completed by 2025-26, a senior official of Dholera Industrial City Development Limited (DICDL), a special purpose vehicle set up to implement the project, told ThePrint.

When ThePrint visited, the city of Greenfield was building brick structures, mostly in the stimulus zone.

“We are developing the infrastructure in the active area first. The land allocation process has already started. By 2025-2026, the area is expected to be bustling with industrial and residential activities,” a senior DICDL official told ThePrint.

Back when the DSIR scheme was approved and the government started acquiring land, farmers protested, but the agitation died down after the government offered a huge compensation package. While some concerns remain, most locals are now optimistic about the development and prospects the project will bring.

Read more: Waited under UPA, accelerated under NDA — 10 big ticket infra projects picked up after 2014

What have you done so far?

Although DMIC has been working for more than a decade, work on the development of Dholera began only in 2016. Larsen & Toubro received a contract in 2017 to develop roads and services in the activated area.

The wide black road is lined with basic infrastructure such as water mains, sewers, storm drains, power distribution, and ICT (Internet Communication Technology) networks running underneath.

Work is also underway to build a 4,400 MW solar park that will provide industrial energy. and residence in the city of Greenfield. Various facilities such as water treatment plants, high reservoirs for drinking and recycled water storage, and general water plants are in various stages of construction; The hand is finished.

A marine park along the artificial canal.  |  Moushumi Das Gupta | Print
A marine park along the artificial canal. | Moushumi Das Gupta Print

A marine park consisting of 6.5 kilometers of canals is being prepared to run alongside residential and commercial areas. Almost 2.2 kilometers of canals with seating arrangements, landscaping, etc. are ready. A recreation area, named the Silk Road, along with an open stadium is given the final touch.

Sectors that define residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial areas are carved out in active areas. and placed a sign. The sectors are also named — Agni Path, Shanti Path, Neer Path, and Vayu Path.

Signs marking different colonies have come up in Dholera.  |  Moushumi Das Gupta  Print
Signs marking different colonies have come up in Dholera. | Moushumi Das Gupta Print

The city will support a population of 2 million people. Officials added that 99 percent of underground utilities and infrastructure are ready in the activation zone.

Work on the four-lane expressway connecting Ahmedabad with Dholera is underway and the new international airport, 15 km away from the city, is expected to be operational by 2024. Currently, the nearest airport in Ahmedabad is located 117 km away.

Negotiations will also continue to expand the Bhimnath-Dholera rail freight route for movement of goods. The nearest railway station is Bhavnagar, about 60 km away. “The Western Railway has already approved the detailed project report, and further planning for the establishment of this railway line is in progress,” said a second DICDL official.

When operational, Dholera will be among the number of green cities – including Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, and Naya Raipur – that emerged in post-independence India. It takes a long time for many of them to live. Naya Raipur, for example, continues to be largely uninhabited even today.

However, officials are confident that the same fate will not befall Dholera.

Mr. Hareet Shukla, Managing Director, DICDL, told ThePrint that “Dholera is a planned city with industrial institutions as part of bringing a walk-to-work culture, thus creating an inclusive environment for industry and its citizens.” “In all these industrial corridors, the idea is to create a trunk infrastructure with a plug-and-play utility network available at the plot level.”

A magnet for developers, the villagers are skeptical

With work underway on just 22.5 square kilometers of the activation area, it may be a while before the entire city is ready.

But signs of commercial activity in the area can be seen as one approaches Dholera through a single road. From Avirahi to Nexa Evergreen Private Limited and the Chandani Group, hoards of real estate companies have sprung up along the road leading to Dholera, selling residential plots, villas and farmhouses. Gujarat-headquartered Infinity Infra Group has already started construction of residential buildings within DSIR.

Land prices have risen to unprecedented levels. But some villagers refused to give up their land. Basudev Bhailal, 62, a farmer in Ambali, a village near Dholera, said that depending on the location, a large plot of land fetches anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 40 lakh.

Basudev Bhailal at his home in Ambala village near Dholera.  |  Moushumi Das Gupta  Print
Basudev Bhailal at his home in Ambala village near Dholera. | Moushumi Das Gupta Print

Bhailal has 23 bighas of agricultural land. “But I’m not selling. If we sell our land, what will we eat?” he asked.

People living in villages in and around Dholera continue to view the development of the green city with skepticism even as they look to the future with a hopeful outlook. “I see a lot of work happening in Dholera. I am sure that development will happen but it has not happened yet. My kids don’t have jobs now, but maybe they will, when the industry comes up,” Bhailal told ThePrint.

Parshottambhai Popatbhai, a farmer of 50 in Saraisla village near Dholera had 70 bighas of land until last year when the Gujarat government bought 35 bighas for the highway project. Popatbhai, who grows jeera and cotton in his remaining 35 bighas, says he now hopes his children will benefit from the developments happening around Dholera.

The real estate company has set up their office near Dholera.  |  Moushumi Das Gupta  Print
The real estate company has set up their office near Dholera. | Moushumi Das Gupta Print

“I didn’t get any benefits but I hope the next generation. I don’t want my children to leave the village to find work in other cities,” he said.

But there are others like Anandbhai Ramanuj, 37, whose life has changed since he started working in DSIR. Ramanuj’s father owned a truck and used to transport goods. But the income is not enough to make a family with 5 members. “I used to go to nearby Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad for work. I was a computer operator. My salary was Rs 8,000 back in 2008. Dholera had nothing,” he said.

In 2017, Ramanuj made a good comeback. “Companies like L&T came in and there was demand for transport vehicles. I expanded my father’s business and bought two small cars followed by two trucks. Today, I earn between Rs 35,000 and Rs 40,000 a month,” he said, adding, “Now I send my 10-year-old son to an English-medium school in Dhandhuka taluka, about 27 km from Dholera.

Like Ramanuj, many villagers living in Dholera are seeing a change in their lives. There are 22 villages in and around the active area and most of the villagers are farmers or fishermen.

Both the central and state governments have collaborated to develop Dholera, a DICDL official told ThePrint. “Within DSIR, the state government has invested its land as part of a joint venture to develop the infrastructure of the trunk in the stimulation zone. Meanwhile, the federal government, through the industrial corridor development enterprise National Corporation, has invested Rs 3,000 crore of cash capital in the project,” said Shukla.

From Tatas to Vedanta-Foxconn, wait for the industry

While 99 percent of the trunk infrastructure in the activation area is ready, DICDL is currently waiting for a major anchor company to set up a unit in Dholera. So far, the land has been given to two large private companies, Tata Power and ReNew. “ReNew has started work on the ground,” a DICDL official said.

ReNew has started work on its solar power plant.  |  Moushumi Das Gupta  Print
ReNew has started work on its solar power plant. | Moushumi Das Gupta Print

Additionally, an application by the Gujarat-based Chiripal Group, a solar film manufacturing company, is in process.

DSIR got a boost after the Gujarat government signed a memorandum of understanding with Vedanta-Foxconn for setting up a semiconductor ecosystem in Dholera. “The proposal to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been approved under the promotion program Production integration (PLI). The final call for allocation and commencement of work may be made only after confirmation from the Vedanta-Foxconn team,” said a senior DICDL official.

Officials said many large and medium industries have shown interest in setting up their businesses in Dholera. “Once we get some confirmation, we will communicate the same,” one of them said.

The official added that the interest shown by domestic and MNCs is natural considering the advantages that Dholera has to offer. “We have a blank environmental clearance from the Gujarat government. Therefore, companies will not have to run from pillar to post to get environmental clearance,” the official said.

On the other hand, the civil infrastructure will be compared to international standards. “The energy tax rate in DSIR will be low. There will be a clear title deed. The Dholera airport will be located at a distance of 15 km, and will provide cargo services,” the official said.

There is also the promise of uninterrupted 24×7 power supply and Torrent Power has set up two substations here.

“The concept plan was developed under the Gujarat Special Investment Act, 2009. The master plan and development plan were prepared by various international consultants, such as HALCROW, Louis Berger, CISCO (ICT), Atkins, TCE, etc.,” said a third DICDL official.

The official added: “DSIR is inspired by the ancient city of Lothal, which is located near Dholera in the Bhal region. Lothal was the commercial center of the region in the past.”

(Edited by Smriti Sinha)

Read more: Pier by pier, girder by girder, Gujarat’s 348 km bullet train project is gathering speed.


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