The success of the Yamuna Expressway project has made the Uttar Pradesh government chary of investing in the centrally-sponsored Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) proposal to develop a similar region east of its own project.
This is the opposite of what other state governments in the region including Haryana and Rajasthan intend to do as they push for larger portions of their states to be included in the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor as a fast-track model for urbanisation.
But the Mayawati government has already monetised its model of urban development along the Noida, Greater Noida region extending all the way to Agra and does not want to integrate those plans with that of DMICDC, which it thinks will be slower. Some of the area will overlap with the proposed Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad Investment Region being mooted by the central government corporation as the northern tip of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
Speaking to FE on condition of anonymity, a senior official of the state government said: ?We have now even dared to dream bigger and are planning a mass urbanisation of around 1,200 villages along the almost-completed Yamuna Expressway through proper planned development, which will open up immense possibilities for industrialisation. But if we agree to form a joint venture with the central government, we will no longer remain the sole planners?.
With the state assembly elections due next year, Uttar Pradesh wants to fast-track the projects. But ceding control to the mega-corporation at this stage could delay the state?s plans as the corporation would not focus only on UP. The stakes are substantial. The DMIC plan would swallow about a 200 sq km of land, while the state government plan for the Yamuna Expressway related project is even bigger.
The other reason is the possible break-up of the partnership the state has established with several real estate groups, as well as the degree of leverage the pace of town planning has given to the state budget. While no one in the government was willing to come on record on this, an official said: ?Agreeing to form a joint venture would tantamount to not only the state government ceding its control over the land and development rights in that area but also subject its own hitherto successful development plan to a model of development which probably has not been tested yet.? A R2,500-crore carrot dangled by the Centre as ?development pill? to make the state change its mind has also heated up the exchange.
He added: ?The pace of the development plans of the DMICDC may not be as per our plans, which are not only ambitious but also time-bound. It is not yet clear as to what would be the role of the central government, the DMICDC, or our own role and how all these will come together.?
So, the state government is playing for time. ?All these need to be worked out clearly before we agree to the DMICDC?s request for site selection for the investment region,? the official added. Instead, the state is using a long dormant UP Industrial Development Act 1976, which governs all development activities in the state to develop towns like Noida, Greater Noida.
It plans to top it up with the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority, that promises to make western UP the most urbanised region in India. The DMICDC, on the other hand, plans to develop 24 industrial cities over 5,500 sq km between Dadri in UP and Jawaharlal Nehru Port, in Mumbai, one of them being the 201-sq km region in Uttar Pradesh. The area lies to the east of the Yamuna Expressway. It will encompass Bulandshahr, Sikandrabad and Khurja towns. The project also envisages the establishment of a manufacturing city, a multi-modal logistic hub, a railway station at Boraki, an international airport at Jewar, a 1,000 MW gas-based power project and an industrial township. Uttar Pradesh instead wants the R2,500 crore earmarked by the central government over five years for the region to be given to it directly. ?While we welcome the fact that the Centre has earmarked this amount for the development of the (UP) stretch, we would have appreciated if this amount was given to the state government as a grant for conducting development activities on its own. Routing it through another body will be more of a hindrance than a help,? commented yet a senior officer in charge of infrastructure development activities.