A new-age town

Written by Kirtika Suneja | Updated: Nov 25 2012, 07:01am hrs
No overhead wires, a wide green belt around it and a jungle safari are just a few things that will make Chhattisgarhs new capital Naya Raipur a world-class city. Kirtika Suneja finds out what more will the youngest capital in the country offer

The 25-km drive from Raipur to Naya Raipur is a lonely one, with barely any activity or people in sight on the well-constructed road. But, as soon as one reaches Naya Raipur, there is a flux of activity. Heavy machinery is buzzing all over the place, mounds of soil are being moved about, and labourers are busily going about the task of creating structures that will all come together to form Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh's new capital.

Chhattisgarh was formed in 2000 and the state government then decided to create a well planned new city for Raipur, following which we zeroed in on Naya Raipur in 2004, says N Baijendra Kumar, principal secretary to the chief minister, Chhattisgarh.

Living up to its image of new-age and green, not only is Naya Raipur the youngest capital in the country, it is also the first greenfield city planned and executed in the 21st century.

The Naya Raipur development plan is being executed in three layers. Under Layer I, the city is being developed over 8,013 hectare in three phases. In the first phase, infrastructure of 3,057 hectares for a population of 1,50,000 is being developed, while in the second phase, 3,734 hectares for 3,65,000 people will be developed. The remaining 1,222 hectares will be developed later.

However, the most striking feature of the planned capital is the absence of overhead wires, which Baijendra Kumar explains, is because all cabling is underground, be it water, electricity or communication. Another interesting fact is that the state government is putting an optical fibre network for SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition systems, for surveillance of traffic and to manage the water and underground power distribution systems in the new city. Truly new-age!

Once ready, Naya Raipur will boast of world-class amenities, including star hotels, 18-hole golf course, theme township, convention centre, IT SEZ, shopping malls, multiplexes, six-lane roads, 60,000-capacity cricket stadium, a garment park and even a jungle safari.

Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA), which is the nodal agency undertaking comprehensive development of the city, is also developing a knowledge park and sports city in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

Green city

Another first to its credit is that it is the only city in the country to have a 500-metre wide green belt around it, besides over 25,000 hectares of green space inside, covering 27% of the city area.

With three lakes in Naya Raipur, the NRDA intends to conserve and develop the areas around them on a specific theme for the purpose of wetland centre, tourism, education and environment.

The energy consumption of the city will be close to 4 MW, for which the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency is setting up a 1.2 MW solar power plant that will cater to about 25% of the total energy needs.

There will also be no polluting industries in the city. We have pending agreements in the power sector and are not welcoming any new power MoUs. Instead, the focus is on technology, herbal products and food processing, among others. We are also in the process of getting a new auto policy, which will be as competitive as Tamil Nadu's, along with a new solar policy, explains Dinesh K Shrivastava, commerce and industry secretary, Chhattisgarh.

Infrastructure

Naya Raipur has been included in the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) as a mission city with the city of Raipur. The city will house the secretariat, comprising various government departments, and residential complexes for government officials as well as the public.

This is the place where the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur will find its permanent address in the next three years after it moves out of its current transit campus in Sejbahar. SR Shrivastava, chief engineer of NRDA, adds, Work will begin on the new campus in July 2013 and it will take another three years before it becomes operational.

About 15% of the area has been allocated for low-cost housing. All the buildings in the planned 40 sectors of the city will be earthquake resistant. Residential development has begun in four sectors. There will be 5,000 houses in each sector catering to all the three income groups of high, middle and low. While public housing is being done by the Chhattisgarh Housing Board, the Public Works Department will implement all the residential housing.

The NRDA studied the plan and layout of international planned cities in Singapore and Washington, besides analysing planned cities in India like Chandigarh, Bhubaneshwar, Navi Mumbai and Dispur before planning the structure of Naya Raipur.

After this, a special area was notified under Section 64 of Nagar Tatha Gramnivesh Adhiniyam, 1973. The City Development Plan (CDP) of Naya Raipur was approved for R749.52 crore. So far, R1,200 crore have been invested in the city and another R30,000 crore would be required in the next 30 years.

Once established, Naya Raipur, a satellite city, will be included in the urban agglomeration of Raipur for their simultaneous and cohesive development. Presently, the total area of Naya Raipur comprises 41 villages, of which 13 are in the core. Interestingly, not much displacement has happened despite such a major land acquisition exercise. Officials say residents of only one village were displaced and even they have been rehabilitated thereafter.

Asia's biggest man-made safari in city

Naya Raipur will boast of Asias biggest man-made jungle safari, which would also be ready in the city within 24 months at an expense of R250 crore.

The safari, to come up over 200 acres, will be divided into eight zones, with wild animals moving freely in natural surroundings. There will be safaris for tigers, lions and bears and other wild animals, officials said. Visitors to the safari will move in protected vehicles.

We will try to develop this not only as a world-class centre for entertainment, but also an ideal place for research on wild animals, chief minister Raman Singh had said soon after performing the bhoomi poojan of the safari last month. The entrance of the safari is a replica of Bastars famous Kutumbser caves, and those going for the safari would be required to walk through this 254-metre long structure. Of the total 500 acres, nearly 134 acres will be developed as a water body.

Rising realty prices

Despite being a small town, real estate prices have escalated multifold in the past 10 years in Naya Raipur. An acre of land, which cost R10,000 till a few years ago, is now priced close to R40 lakh. A three-BHK apartment costs R20 lakh, while a duplex is for R38 lakha 40% increase from R27 lakh a few months ago.

Numbers talk

* 2004 Naya Raipur planned this year

* 80.13 sq km area

* 5,60,000 estd population by 2031

* 500metre wide green belt around city

* 27% of city area green

* Rs.1,200 crore spent so far

* Rs.30K crore needed in next 30 years