What does India’s first potential Smart City promise

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With 110 skyrises, metro service, bus rapid transport, elevated walkways, automated waste collection and a host of other amenities, the Rs 70,000 crore ($11.1 billion) Gujarat International Finance Tec City (or Gift City) between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar not only wants to emerge as India’s first Smart City, but also become a model for others to follow.

Being built from scratch on 886 acres under a joint venture of Gujarat Urban Development Company and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services, the infrastructure for the first phase has already been executed with 4,000 people working in it, officials said.

“Till now Gift City has invested Rs 1,000 crore in infrastructure and operational expenses. When the entire planned built-up area of 62 million square feet is completed, our infrastructure investment alone will come to around Rs 5,000-6,000 crore. Rest will be by private players,” said Ajay Pandey, Managing Director of Gift City.

“As per our estimates, the total investment by 2022-24 will go up to Rs 70,000 crore,” Pandey, also the Group CEO, told IANS. “We are going on a project funding basis. The first phase funding has come from a consortium of bankers.”

Despite all the buzz around cities turning smart, the actual changes that will differentiate a Smart City from a regular one is the deployment of technology for the residents, he said.

A look at some of these distinctive features of Gift City:

— It will have 110 towers, out of which two towers of 122 metres height with 28 floors each are ready. It will house offices of the financial and IT sectors, international finance, trade offices, along with residential and social facilities.

— It will have both Metro rail and Bus Rapid Transport Service from Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. Four stations inside will ensure a walking distance of no more than 500 meters from any building.

— With Multi-services Special Economic Zone and an International Financial Services Centre, the project has been conceptualised as a global financial and IT hub — touted as the first of its kind in India in the league of London, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

— When fully operational, the project is expected to have created 500,000 direct and an equal number of indirect jobs.

— Sweden’s internationally-renowned company Envac has developed its Automated Waste Collection System and Segregation Plant which ensures minimal emissions with least impact on environment and human intervention.

— The District Cooling System, instead of air-conditioning, developed by Dubai’s ETA Engineering, comprises a cooling plant in which water is chilled to 4 degrees celsius, and supplied through underground pipes to buildings, resulting in low noise and vibrations, improved air quality and 30 per cent reduction in costs compared to conventional options.

— The city will have drinkable water from any tap thanks to the next-class water treatment plants with a capacity of 15 million litres per day, with water supplies from the Narmada river.

— The entire city will sport a utility tunnel through which water pipes, power cables, optic fibre cables, district cooling pipes and waste collection tubes will be routed.

— Localised sewage treatment plants will be fed by a criss-cross of pipelines to transport effluents.

— Infrastructure will include a data centre, public wi-fi, smart lights, arterial- and sub-arterial roads, elevated walkways and travelators.

— The domestic area will have 25,000 smart-homes with intelligent functions for lighting, cooling and ventilation, for people working in Gift City. Construction is due from early 2017.

— The City will ensure 99.999 per cent power reliability with an outage of of no more than 5.3 minutes in a year, thanks to a 66 KV substation. Solar power will also be generated.

“From the ideation to its operational phase, we have strategically roped in experts and agencies renowned in their respective fields of work, for designing specific aspects of the city,” said Pandey.

“The project encompasses top-notch infrastructure facilities, many of which are being introduced in India for the first time.”

Meghna Mittal / IANS