Gujarat’s Dumb Smart Cities – Part 2

Modi Govt will spend Rs 95,000 crores for Dholera. Out of which Rs 30,000 crores have already been approved. According to Dholera plan, 20 lakh people will be resident in the city. That means the amount Centre has agreed to spend in near future of Rs 30,000 crores will be Rs 4,75,000 per head. Equal amount will be borne by Gujarat Govt. Similar expenditure is calculated to be spent by Dholera company and private players. That totals to Rs 19,00,000 per head in Dholera infrastructure pf roads, water, sanitation, trains, airport, public utility buildings etc.

The tendency of usual overshooting of budgeted cost is not factored in yet so it’s anyone’s guess what will be the figure in the end. (3-4 fold increase) So Dholera is already the most expensive city in Gujarat even on paper where marginalised & poor or under privileged people will have no space. The current population of  22 villages acquired for the project too will not be able to dwell in the city. This when more than 30% population lives in shanties or temporary dwellings.

Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu objected that if Modi Govt approves a whopping Rs 95,000 crores for Gujarat’s Dholera smart city then why not Andhra when it needs funds for Andhra Pradesh? PM Modi once said Dholera will be 4 times bigger than Delhi and 6 times bigger than Shanghai. Question is if this mammoth expenditure is being undertaken for second capital of Gujarat then why not for capital of Andhra Pradesh or statehood for Delhi?

Gujarat Govt has declared Dholera will become a world best smart city at the cost of Rs 3000 crores. CM Vijay Rupani laid foundation stone and announced Ahmedabad and Dholera will be twin cities. An 8-lane highway will be built between the twin cities. Dholera will be presented as investment destination in 2019 Vibrant Gujarat Summit projecting it as bigger than Singapore. A 120 KM long water canal will be built in Dholera with 365 days of water in canal. The canal will feature water transport joining it with Delhi Mumbai Indutrial Corridor.

Some highlights of proposed Dholera city:

  • Rs 25,000 crore solar park
  • Rs 130 crore solid waste management system
  • Rs 400 crore IT hub
  • 920 Sq KM development
  • Rs 1734 crore roads
  • Rs 90 crore water treatment plant
  • Rs 86 crore power plant
  • Rs 6,000 crore NHAI built Ahmedabad Dholera Express Way
  • Rs 2,000 crore Dholera International Airport
  • Rs 300 crore Bhimnath Dholera Railway project

This over ambitious plans stand in stark reality of acute water shortage in Gujarat. The irony of 120 KM long water canal when the Gujarat Govt introduced no water for irrigation in current (2018) ‘Kharif’ crop season for water scarcity as more than 40% towns/villages face drinking water scarcity. Metro cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot have already witnessed cut down in drinking water supplies to just a few hours daily.

CM Modi had announced 50 lakh new houses in 2012 assembly election manifesto which stands unfulfilled as usual.

Modi is infamous for announcing mega projects, spending crores trumpeting about them and post winning elections abandoning them. Take the case of Kalpasar project that was much hyped at the time as one of a kind in the world.

The Gujarat government spent a whopping Rs 113 crore for its ambitious project at Kalpasar but the foundation stone has not been laid yet. The government spent the huge sum on a series of feasibility reports (21 so far) that have been conducted, are still under way,  or will be done for the project. This project was conceptulised by Narendra Modi, then the chief minister of the state, with a vision to obstruct saline waters of the Arabian Sea through a 30 KM long barrage between east and West Bank of Gulf of Khambhat and collect fresh Narmada water in the same. The project also included a bridge over the gulf of Khambhat in the sea. The Rs 60,000 crore project was supposed to be completed by 2020 ready to generate 6000 MW tidal electricity on top of water reservoir connecting all major rivers in Gujarat.

Will Modi answer what happened to Kalpasar? Also what happened in 10 years after Cholera announcement? Now what will happen to Kandla?

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