In an exclusive interview with INFRASTRUCTURE TODAY, Ajay Pandey, Managing Director and Group CEO of GIFT City, outlines how an ideal greenfield city should be. According to him, while envisaging a greenfield city, authorities must address adequate and potable water supply, assured electricity supply and sanitation, including solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport.
In addition, there is a need to have a forward-looking planning for the next 50 years. For example, roads have to be designed keeping in mind the petrol-driven and future modes of transport such as electric vehicles. Similarly, adequate infrastructure must be provided for proper water drainage and water harvesting. A greenfield smart city should look to eliminate the woes of our current structure by providing world-class infrastructure that will improve the overall quality of life of its citizens.
At GIFT City, the Master Plan has meticulously accounted for the needs of the city once it is fully developed with infrastructure that will support the future needs of the growing city. GIFT is focused on being green, sustainable, implementing technology-centric solutions requiring minimal human interference for day-to-day maintenance with maximum impact to improving the quality of life of citizens of the city.
Greenfield smart cities increase efficiency and also propagate sustainability because they have the unique proposition of being built ground-up akin to a blank canvas, without the constraints of established cities. A greenfield smart city presents opportunities to all sectors to reinvent themselves with the aid of new technology and modern infrastructure that is functional, scalable and eco-friendly. This requires vision, meticulous planning and institutional commitment at various levels. Apart from being attractive to investors, smart cities, at their developing stage, are also job creators.
GIFT City is a green-field project and India's first operational smart city. Some of the infrastructure facilities implemented at GIFT are first-of-its-kind in India. The city has an integrated planning with ICT, which combines the best infrastructure with technology of global standards, and it also serves as a blueprint for future smart cities of India. Meticulous planning has gone into taking care of aspects such as less human intervention, optimisation of space and maintaining a clean environment. GIFT also works with new services and technology providers to try their solutions as proof-of-concepts in the city.
The government is also supportive of developing smart cities across India by providing policy and implementation frameworks, and also providing funding options for development of the required infrastructure to achieve the vision of the 100 smart cities initiative. The greenfield development taking shape at GIFT City has been duly acknowledged in the Mission Statement & Guidelines' for Smart Cities released by Union Ministry of Urban Development.
Currently, the fully-operational world-class infrastructure supports around 8,000 people employed from 165 operating businesses, and is well positioned to double its workforce every year. We encourage corporate and developers to visit GIFT so they can get the first-hand experience of the city and facilitate their decision to establish their presence in probably the fastest growing business destinations in India.
- RAHUL KAMAT