Explained: Everything That Is Going Into Making 'Dholera Special Investment Region' A Special Smart City

by Amit Mishra - Apr 4, 2022 07:51 PM +05:30 IST
Explained: Everything That Is Going Into Making 'Dholera Special Investment Region' A Special Smart City An artist's impression of the Dholera Special Investment Region city in Gujarat.
Snapshot
  • Among the many cities planned along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR), coming up around a 100 kms south of Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

    Here, Gopal Goswami, a columnist writing on public policy and infrastructure, explains what is making DSIR unique and formidable project.

Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) is a greenfield industrial city under construction on Gujarat’s Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) stretch.

In an email interview, Swarajya spoke with Gopal Goswami on the current status of the project and challenges ahead. Goswami has pursued a career in the Civil Engineering industry and writes on strategy, public policy, business, and culture.

Here are edited excerpts from the interview.

Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.

What is special about infrastructure in DSIR- how radical and different is the experience?

Smart infrastructure, smart utility, smart connectivity and smart technology is the mantra of Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR), which is India's first Greenfield Smart City. The city would be powered by electricity generated from renewable energy - a dedicated 5 GW Solar Park is being built within DSIR. The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of DSIR is digging free plug & play infrastructure and ICT duct facility.

The Master Plan of the DSIR has been prepared by Halcrow, consultancy services have been provided by Akon and infrastructure work is being carried out by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (L&T).

The entire area within DSIR has been divided into 12 different zones. Land parcels are available on a 99 year lease basis. The region will have 4-way connectivity - through Express Highway, through a metro having a dedicated international airport and through a nearby port.

What is the current status of DSIR on the following parameters - land acquisition; infra connectivity - expressway, HSR, and Greenfield Airport; and other necessary infrastructure required for industries?

The final plot is 50 per cent of the open plot which will be allotted to the land owner for the development, and the rest 50 per cent shall be utilised by the Government for infrastructure and other related developments. The necessary infrastructure like water treatment plant, effluent treatment plant, sewage treatment plant and a 72 Km road network is almost ready.

The tender for EWS housing has also been prepared. Industries within the region have the choice of opting between two DISCOMs (distribution companies) for power access - Torrent power and Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (UGVCL).

Expressway from Ahmedabad to Dholera is under construction and will be ready before the end of 2023. Tenders for Dholera Greenfield international airport have been invited and the project is targeted to be completed by 2025.

DSIR has placed a premium on its town planning. What is so unique about its town planning?

DSIR is poised to be the biggest Greenfield Smart City in India with an area of 920 sq.Km. It has been divided into 12 zones and six sub-centres. The region boasts of residential area with minimum 200 square metre plots and 12m internal road.

For non-polluting industries, the minimum sublet area is 1,000 square metre with 18 metre internal road. A 1,000 acre dedicated special education zone is a unique feature of the city. DSIR also plans to have dedicated areas for public utility, recreation, IT and knowledge centres, logistic, sports activity, and City Centre. The city permits a high access corridor for multi-storey building up to 50 storeys and 180 m height with a FSI (Floor Space Index) of 5.

How does DSIR plan to achieve its power needs? Will it be a conventional approach or a mix of conventional and renewable energy?

The City shall be powered by 5 GW solar park which is enough to serve 20 lakhs citizens in the region. Torrent Power & UGVCL are two DISCOMs operating in the area.

Why was the tender for 700 MW of solar power cancelled after giving letters of award (LoA)? What would be the likely impact?

The tariff was too high as compared to other states so the tenders were cancelled and have been reinvented.

How does DSIR aim to provide logistics support to a wide network of industries coming up?

The investment region is connected through an express highway to Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). There is a major international sea port close to the city. A dedicated international airport with cargo facility is in the offing. Dholera SIR will also have a dedicated logistic zone for warehousing, storage and supply of goods.

Which are the major industries that have invested/plan to invest in DSIR?

Many futuristic industries like solar panel manufacturing, EV battery manufacturing for auto industries, and some major chip manufacturing companies are in touch with the authorities. The presence of a firing range is going to support defence industries. The proposed investment will create skilled employment and make atmanirbhar Bharat successful.

What is the status of financial closure of the project? What is the source of finance for the project? Is it a Government funded initiative or being developed in PPP (Public-Private Partnership) mode?

A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Dholera Industrial City Development Limited (DICDL) has been created between the Central Government (NICDC Trust) and the state government (DSIRDA) of Gujarat to implement the project. The SPV is made up of a 51 per cent stake of the Government of Gujarat through DSIRDA and a 49 per cent stake of the Government of India through NICDC trust.

The Centre has allocated funds in tune of Rs 10,000 crore for building infrastructure. DICDL has huge land parcels aggregated from 50 per cent cut from the land owners and its own land bank, and is also selling the developed land to industries and will be able to generate about 50,000 crore from the future sale.

Thank you so much for the responses.

Amit Mishra is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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