In the recently concluded
Annual Convention & National Seminar of Indian Buildings Congress in New Delhi, 23 recommendations emerged for implementation in ‘Development of New Greenfield Townships’. The recommendations are of special importance for the effective implementation of the government’s agenda of developing ‘new, sustainable, smart and intelligent greenfield townships with net-zero energy and zero waste’ as a liveable place. Here are some excerpts from the recommendations shared by Indian Buildings Congress to the Centre and states for their consideration and implementation.
1. Planning and development of new greenfield townships need to be taken up selectively in due consultation with stakeholders on realistic expected population growth; demand and supply analysis; impact analysis on existing cities; type of industrial, commercial and institutional requirements; economic centres; investment potential; waste management; environmental aspects; transport connectivity and employment opportunities after development to ensure self-sustainability.
2. The state urban strategy should be to interconnect greenfield townships, cities and towns with the existing transport network by developing major transport corridors like road, rail, water and airports to complement the dispersal of population with economic development and create employment opportunities for both urban and rural populations.
3. There should only be a single authority responsible and accountable for planning, implementation, monitoring, development, management and governance of the township.
4. The major stress of the stakeholders in township development should be to develop new, sustainable, smart and intelligent greenfield townships as liveable places providing the diverse needs of both the present and future of the community, by offering a high quality of life to live, work and play in well-planned, governed, safe and secure townships by addressing environmental, social and economic issues.
5. The new mantra for development of thriving and prosperous new greenfield townships should be ‘Population is not the problem; we just need to plan and manage resources differently with the aim to ensure higher quality of life and higher order of operational efficiency at affordable cost and with mixed-land use, using transit-oriented development, economy of services and conservation of non-renewable natural resources’.
6. To provide higher quality of life and ensure a higher order of operational efficiency at an affordable cost, the greenfield township should follow the concepts of mixed land use; be compact, vertical, densified, smart and intelligent; provide shelter and services for all; planfor flatted rather than plotted development; conserve water and offer integrated waste management; and ensure integrated multimodal public transportation and energy generation from renewable resources like the sun and wind.
7. There is a need to fix fair compensation by the competent authority to acquire land for the public purpose of township development to minimise land acquisition court cases and delay in acquisition of land. For payment of fair compensation to landowners, a compendium of the yardsticks adopted by different courts in India should be prepared and uniform guidelines so prepared utilised by state governments.
8. For speedy land acquisition and disposal of land acquisition cases, the time limit for deciding land acquisition cases by courts on the pattern similar to arbitration cases could be fixed in the Act.
9. The aim of stakeholders should be to develop sustainable and smart greenfield townships, which follow an interplay between all available resources such as the sun, water, energy, wind and nature, and their utilisation to give vision to creative ideas.
10. For providing capital to achieve the objectives of each stage of project implementation, the most appropriate source and financial instruments should be identified and decided in the beginning.
11. Greenfield development involves considerable expenditure and external development; hence, these could be developed on an alternate funding mode like PPP. The government can fund the external development while internal development, commercial and residential spaces could be developed by private entrepreneurs.
12. For fast development of greenfield townships, the government should provide suitable financial mechanisms, including budgeting and risk-taking, to support PPP along with long-term tax holidays for industries and commercial activities setup therein. Direct financial support from the government for the infrastructure of the new greenfield township will further boost the economy of the township.
13. To ensure the environmental sustainability of a greenfield township, major factors to be considered include reduction in the building footprint, rainwater harvesting, waste management, use of passive technologies for energy generation, use of eco-friendly materials, open spaces, provision of local farm lands, and minimising pollution of air, water, soil and noise.
14. Understanding the context where development has to take place by using basic traditional knowledge systems of sun movement and wind pattern to maximise use of resources and design with respect to nature is important to earn a green rating for buildings without installing artificial cooling systems.
15. To ensure the social sustainability of a greenfield township, major factors to be considered include provisions of social interaction space; worship areas; community gathering areas like halls and centres; recreational areas like malls, multiplex and shopping centres in the premises for peoples of different income groups; organisation of common activities like tree plantation, seminars, workshops and meeting places for senior citizens; and exhibition areas for cultural development.
16. To ensure the economic sustainability of a greenfield township, major factors to be considered include provision of industry and commerce; affordable housing; use of recycled construction materials by adopting the reuse, recycle and reduce mantra and cost-reducing construction technologies; use of passive technologies in planning to reduce overall energy consumption; local market places and farming for generating the economy within the township itself; and revenue and employment generation.
17. The industry zone and freight complexes should be located along major road, rail, and waterway corridors. These can also be located in the flight path.
18. The cluster theory of economics for concentration of each type of specialised industry in separate district localities, each demarcated by a thick green belt with efficient connectivity, needs to be adopted. 19. In hilly areas, the economy is generally based on tourism. For development of greenfield townships in hilly areas with a fragile ecosystem, it is desirable to promote homestead tourism along with hotel tourism to provide accommodation as well as various services and facilities to tourists through involvement of local communities to generate employment and boost the economy.
20. For development of greenfield townships in hilly areas where the topography is challenging with difficult terrain and steep slopes with barriers, aerial rope transit (cable car/ropeway) transport technology should be promoted to maintain the ecosystem and avoid degradation of earth and forest.
21. To provide all services, online intelligent and smart digitised solution systems, sensors, big data analytics, SCADA, ERP solutions, integrated digital control and command centres and disaster-proof mechanism and satellite surveillance should be adequately planned and deployed for administration and governance.
22. The case studies of Dholera City, a part of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, GIFT City in Ahmedabad, Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh, and Amravati City in Andhra Pradesh as greenfield developments have been discussed. We could replicate the lessons learnt in the development of these townships for sustainable urban development.
23. The options of greenfield or brownfield development or a judicious mix of the two have to be seen in the larger ecosystem, and policy perspective should pay due regard to the wide variations of geographies and demographics.