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INDIA'S
INTEGRATED TOWNSHIPS
Chaitanya Raj Goyal

SOARING AMBITION:

The swelling population figures of major cities year after year bear testimony to the fact that India's massive `urbanization march' is on! As massive urbanization is inevitable, intelligent solutions like developing new age mini cities seem to be the answer to prevent reckless urbanization in major urban centers all over the country. Integrated townships combine the best of old-world peace and quiet with modern amenities conveniently available.

re you fed up of living in densely packed, unkempt, unsafe and polluted concrete jungles? Are you tired of travelling unending hours on traffic jammed roads and in overcrowded public transport systems? Do you crave for a spacious, safe, clean and green living? No wonder it is a primal human desire to own a home at a nice, peaceful locality with most immediate necessities in the vicinity. Till only recently the fulfillment of this desire came at a heavy price, leading people to often settle for less. These days however, this has become affordable, thanks

to the concept of integrated townships! What are integrated townships? Integrated townships or 'gated communities' are mini cities equipped with all comforts and amenities of a bustling metro. The housing and business establishments inside it enjoy associated infrastructure like roads, drainage, schools, hospitals, convenience shopping facilities, water treatment plants, sewage facilities, etc. The emphasis is on creating a sustainable ecosystem with required infrastructure backed by all necessary amenities.

These townships usually have lower Floor Area Ratio (FAR) than other residential complexes and have more open spaces. Although 100 acre is usually the minimum required land for integrated townships, the norms may vary from state to state. Associated Benefits Residential conditions in our major cities are on an accelerated decline. There is a general shortage of infrastructure, increased air, water and noise pollution, and a rash of illegal and unorganized structures cropping up every-

where. Increasingly, home-owners face problems reaching emergency services, finding adequate parking and traversing pothole-riddled roads. Therefore, with urban areas getting more crowded and falling increasingly short on future development potential, integrated townships have been correctly identified as a potential solution. The government is now encouraging the development of such townships to reduce pressure on urban areas and to improve infrastructure. Also, such townships attract foreign direct investment and make overall economic sense. Most

integrated townships are the amalgamation of villas, flats, plots, floors, retail, institutional land etc. Depending on the need, the consumer has the option to choose between any of these. The core idea of 'open living' is delivered not only through more spacious and better designed homes, but also through meticulous planning of the infrastructure like extensive landscaping, internal road network and traffic flow planning and provision of pedestrian walkways that encourage safe, pleasant and comfortable walking within the townships. Over the next 2-5

years, most metros and satellite cities are likely to see increased launches of integrated township projects. Tier II cities and state capitals which see the population from the interiors gravitating towards them are also likely to see such projects being launched. Though arriving at an exact number is challenging, it seems evident that nearly hundred or more such projects are likely to be in different stages of development over the next decade. The following 10 integrated township projects currently being developed will leave you awestruck as you discover how Indian real estate is evolving!

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1. Mohali Hills
Location: Mohali, Punjab Developer: Emmar MGF Touted as India's first integrated township, close to Chandigarh lies Mohali Hills, a gated mixed use community spread over a 3000 acre environment. Emaar MGF, a leading real estate developer, came up with the mega project with a capital outlay of Rs 16,000 crore and the township was launched with the laying of its foundation by Punjab Chief Minister - Parkash Singh Badal on June 1, 2007. Mohali Hills offers luxury villas, apartments, terraced town homes, golf courses, clubs, international school, commercial spaces and a character-filled retail centre which is designed to provide a dynamic tenant mix, from supermarkets, laundries and pharmacies to eclectic boutiques and stylish restaurants.

Mohali Hills, Punjab (Photo Courtesy: Emmar MGF)

2.Wave City
Location: Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh Developer: Wave Infratech Wave Inc, the erstwhile Chadha

Group, announced the launch of its mega self sustainable integrated township christened Wave City in Ghaziabad. Spread across 4,500 acres, this township is situated on NH 24, Ghaziabad, one of the most happening real estate destinations in Delhi-NCR. The 1st phase will involve developing 1,671 acres of the project and is envisaged to be completed in 30 months while the entire city is expected in 60 months. The overall

development in 1st phase will have residential, commercial complexes, hospitals, dispensary, schools and IT spaces, industrial spaces (non-polluting) and dedicated green areas. The entire city will be environment friendly. Some of the USP facilities to be provided at Wave City are proposed mechanized cleaning and sweeping, closed loop city Mass Rapid Transport system, approx. 2 acre park for a population of every

Wave City, Ghaziabad (Photo Courtesy: Wave Infra)

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Jaypee Greens Sports city, Greater Noida (Photo Courtesy: Jaypee)

Sports infra development at Jaypee greens sports city

400 people and a creek like canal flowing through the entire city.

3. Jaypee Greens Sports City


Location: Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh Developer: Jaypee Group Jaypee Greens Sports city is spread over 2000 Hectare and features India's first Formula one circuit Buddh International Circuit. It is located at Greater Noida and derives its name from the obvious Multiple international standard sporting stadiums, upcoming ICC standard Cricket Stadium, a hockey stadium, Golf course, Go-karting and allied facilities. In addition to the sporting facilities, the city would have a complete blend of residential, commercial, institutional & recreational areas. The sports city is interconnected with a 13 km long boulevard with special char-

acteristics such as flower farm, recreational centers, community gatherings, theme gardens etc. Also, 24X7 water & power back up will be provided. The power generation would be through Jaypee Group's own electricity generation plants with capacity of 15,000 MW.

4. Khed City
Location: Near Pune, Maharashtra Developer: Kalyani group + MIDC The KHED CITY is one of India's largest integrated development projects envisaged on the outskirts of Pune in western India. Spread over 4500 hectares in Khed and Shirur talukas of Pune District, it is being developed by Khed Economic Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. (KEIPL), a joint venture of the Kalyani Group and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). Planned as a 4500

hectare project with 1705 hectares being developed in the first phase, KHED CITY is a well-planned city having: Multi-product Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Textile Park and Domestic Industrial Park (DTA Park). The Non-Processing Zones are essentially the urban centers which are organized around public squares, plazas and bazaars, and are connected with residential neighborhoods, offering a wide range of housing options. Also included are schools, hospitals, hotels, a golf club and resort with all other basic and luxurious amenities included.

5. Lavasa
Location: Near Pune, Maharashtra Developer: HCC Lavasa is set to be India's largest integrated township project. Spread over a sprawling 100 square km, this

KHED City, Near Pune (Photo Courtesy: Kalyani group)

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6. GIFT City
Location: Gandhinagar, Gujrat Developer: IL&FS + Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited (GUDCOL) A public-private partnership project initiated six years ago between IL&FS and State Govt. of Gujrat, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) is a financial hub-in-the-making with several unique features. Spread across 886 acres, being built at a cost of around Rs 78,000 crore, it's planned as a vertical city. A large part of the area is designated as a multi-service special economic zone. Around 3,000 acres are earmarked for future expansion and integrated townships are planned in a 100 sq km development zone. Besides incorporating a creative mix of commercial, residential and recreational space, GIFT is also designed for innovative embrace of cutting-edge technology. State-of-the-art facilities will range from an IT-based control centre for centralized, rapid response city surveillance to automated vacuum waste collection systems. Add to that walk-to-work layouts, personalized rapid transport and district cooling systems - using chilled water to cool buildings - to assure mobility and comfort

Lavasa City, Near Pune (Photo Courtesy: HCC)

` 50,000 crore township is being built by the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) in four phases, the first of which will be ready this year and the last by 2021. With lakeside apartments and Mediterranean-themed villas, and business facilities such as IT and biotech parks, this new micro-city will be an amalgam of residential and commercial facilities. After the city is fully built, total population may be 200,000, and it will comprise four or five towns

built on seven hills. Planned sports facilities include a Nick Faldo-designed golf course, a Manchester City-branded football academy, and a Hockey Australia hockey academy. A theme park of over 65 acres in size is also planned. As of 2010, Symbiosis International University is planning to set up a new liberal arts college campus at the township and a 200 acre health & wellness center and a herb plantation are also planned.

GIFT City, Gandhinagar (Photo Courtesy: GUDCOL)

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This Hi-tech Township sprawling across 3530 acres is located on Lucknow-Sultanpur Highway, and is extendable up to 6000 acres. It sports an 18 hole international standard Golf Course surrounded by Residential and Commercial Developments. Apart from all other standard facilities and features, SGC will also contain Ansal API ISKCON Spiritual Centre, Bharti Walmart, IT Park, Golf Academy, Ansal API Auto Park- Northern India's First Auto Mall and much more.

9. Mumbai Economic Development Zone


Location: Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra Developer: GFH + Wadhwa group
Kovai Hills, Coimbatore (Photo Courtesy: Rakindo)

while helping conserve power. Banks from Singapore, agencies of the United Nations and organizations such as the International Monetary Fund will open offices in GIFT.

7. Rakindo Kovai Hills


Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Developer: Rakindo Kovai Hills will be set on 850 acres of lush landscape with mountains in the backdrop and an 18-hole golf course as the centerpiece. The landscape is dotted with a multi-specialty hospital, central mall, a luxurious resort hotel and spa, a picturesque golf and coun-

try club and a golf academy. Rakindo has tied up with Erode-based CS Academy, which would build a CBSE school in the township. It would also develop a 60-acre sports village within the township and is tying up with the Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy. Rakindo, a joint venture between Rakeen, owned by the Government of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, and Trimex, a minerals mining group, is investing ` 1,000 crore on this project.

8. Sushant Golf City


Location: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Developer: Ansal API

Gulf Finance House BSC (GFH), a Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank in partnership with Wadhwa Group, an eminent real estate developer in India, are developing the Energy City, Navi Mumbai (ECNM) and Mumbai IT & Telecom City (MITTIC) projects (together termed as the Mumbai Economic Development Zone). Launched by GFH in 2007 and 2008, respectively, the ECNM and MITTIC projects cover 1,250 acres of prime development land at Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra. The zone, which is supported by the government of Maharashtra, will ultimately offer world-class infrastructure for local and international companies across the services, information technology and energy sectors.

Sushant Golf City, Lucknow (Photos courtesy: Ansal API)

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Mumbai Economic Development Zone, Navi Mumbai (Photo Courtesy: GFH)

10. Aavisa
Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu Developer: IVRCL Assets & Holdings Aavisa is Chennai's first and the only one of its kind Golf Course Township located at Sriperumbudur. Located on the National Highway 4 (Chennai to Bangalore), Sriperumbudur is the electronic, auto and auto component hub of India, with various multinationals having a strong presence such as Samsung, St. Gobain, Nokia, Borg Warner, Hyundai, Motorola, Renault, Yamaha, Dell, BMW and many more. A self contained Eco

Sensitive Township, spread over 700 acres, interspersed with Lakes and Streams, and an 18 Hole Par 72 Championship Golf Course through the middle of the property, is being designed to include a Club House, Educational Institutions, Hospital, Commercial spaces, Star Hotel and a Medi Spa. The Future of Urban India The swelling population figures of major cities year after year bear testimony to the fact that India's massive `urbanization march' is on! As massive urbanization is inevitable, intelligent

AAVISA Township, Chennai (Photo Courtesy: IVRCL Assets & Holdings)

solutions like developing new age mini cities seem to be the answer to prevent reckless urbanization in major urban centers all over the country. Integrated townships combine the best of oldworld peace and quiet with modern amenities conveniently available. That this also comes at affordable pricing is its biggest advantage. However, despite its perceptible win-win formula, it is a concept whose future is plagued with hurdles. To begin with, there is huge land acquisition cost that has to be borne by the builder as a township requires several acres of land. Also, the gestation period in such projects is very long as construction happens in various phases. So, from a realty developer point of view it means longer duration to recover costs. The biggest hurdle ironically comes from the Government. The real estate sector is expected to comply with a variety of complex regulations. The issue however is not the regulations, but the way it is handled by the central and state Governments. Without any single window clearance, integrated housing projects take years to take off as a developer has to deal with multiple regulatory bodies thus increasing the cost which makes it less viable for buyers in the end. So, it is a myth that townships are a low risk model for the developers. But today, with the focus of integrated townships towards creating affordable housing as well as infrastructure, the model is a prime candidate for being granted infrastructure status. If and when this happens, it will provide access to cheaper and more established sources of funds while also providing the kind of tax benefits to developers that are needed to make this model attractive. The Central government has already opened the doors for external commercial borrowings in township development. This provides access to cheap finance and has had a positive impact. Steps like easy land due diligence, financial incentives and faster clearances from authorities will go a long way in promoting integrated township projects across country making it a win-win situation for all stakeholders!

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