India plans 7 advanced, next-gen cities between Delhi & Mumbai

The body carrying out the development of the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) — an Indo-Japanese attempt to take on the manufacturing might of China — has finalized initial details of the project.

According to the blue-print prepared by the DMIC Development Corporation (DMICDC), there will be seven mega cities (called nodes) built over the next 40 years, with the biggest one being located in Gujarat.

The biggest one, in Dholera in Gujarat, will be spread over 903 square kilometers, making it comparable to Delhi and Mumbai in size and bigger than all other cities at present. The ultra-modern city will be built along the Gulf of Khambat — the crevice between Gujarat and the Indian peninsula and will swallow up 22 existing villages with a population of 37,000.

All the seven cities in the 1500-km long Corridor are being built with the help of the Japanese government and big Japanese corporations such as Matsushita, Hitachi, Mitsubishi etc.. When complete, the state-of-the-art cities will be model cities for the World, with high levels of energy efficiency, superb environmental standards and world-class transportation and residential facilities.

They will also be India’s answer to China’s manufacturing prowess. The DMIC is also being seen as a ‘balancing act’ by Japan, whose companies were crucial to creating the manufacturing base of China. Having helped create the Chinese phenomenon, many Japanese corporations are keen to have a ‘back up’ manufacturing base as well, to tide over difficulties in case Sino-Japanese relations take a nose-dive, as they sometimes do.

The Chinese government is also seen as getting less and less friendly towards foreign corporations as local companies and brands create a name for themselves in the World market and are able to stand up to foreign firms.

Two of the seven cities will lie in Maharashtra, while one each will lie in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.

The second biggest city will be built around the Manesar-Bawal area of Haryana — already an upcoming industrial hub. This will be around 403 square km or roughly half the size of Dholera. This region will support industries in the sectors of Engineering (Automobile, Auto components, Engineering, Iron and Steel, Telecom Equipment, Consumer Durables), Consumer products (Food processing, Textiles, Plastics and Building materials,) Service (IT/ITES, Hospitality, Higher Education,) and Future Technology such as solar.

Like the other cities, the Manesar complex too will be designed to attract the best talent from India and the globe to settle. To provide an advanced and comfortable life-style to the lakhs of people expected to settle there, the region will be two layers of transportation — one for the region as a whole and one for the immediate city.

The third region is Khuskhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana complex in Rajasthan. It will specialize in Knowledge and hi-tech industry and Agriculture related units.

The Dhar Mhow region in MP will focus on Food Products and Beverages, Engineering products, Metal, Textiles, Chemical, Auto, Electrical and Electronics industries. It is expected to have a population of nearly 12 lakhs in 30 years.

The Nashik Sinnar complex in Maharashtra will focus on Food, Innovation, Heavy Industry and Engineering while the Dighi Port city coming up in Raigarh district will also have a similar focus.

Most of these cities are expected to use around 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts of electricity, compared to around 2,800 megawatts consumed by a ‘non efficient’ city like Bangalore.

Japan has announced a US$4.5 billion (Rs 22,500 crore) contribution for projects with Japanese participation through Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the DMIC facility.

The Government of India has approved financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 17,500 crore over the next five years through the DMIC Project implementation Fund to be set up as a Trust for the development of industrial cities at Rs 2500 crore per city on an average, subject to a maximum of Rs 3000 crore per city.