DELHI: We keep hearing ‘infrastructure bottleneck’ quite frequently in the real estate sector. To most of us, it mostly refers to adequate roads and flyovers. Infrastructure is a lot more than mere roads and flyovers. It is the backbone on which towns and cities are planned and built. It covers road connectivity, rail network (both metro and mono rail), public transportation, hospitals, adequate number of schools and colleges, water supply, electricity, telecom, a proper market yard and retail outlets, properly demarcated industrial or office areas and in certain populated cities a good airport.
Indian cities are already creeking with the load of population. We need to plan better to be able to sustain growth in the existing cities and plan newer ones. The genesis of good infrastructure starts with planning early, much like the British did in building new cities and connecting them. The planning has to keep a 30 year time frame to ensure that bottlenecks do not happen a few years down the line. In India, Chandigarh has been a good example of a planned city. We need more than just one planned city.
If we look at one of the finest pieces of road infrastructure being carried out currently, it is the Yamuna Expressway connecting Greater Noida to Agra. This is a 165-km long 6-lane stretch. What is impressive is the road connectivity and planning outside of this expressway. Now imagine being able to build a rapid train system between and through this stretch, with feeder roads to such entry and exit train points.
The growth of Pune, can be very much attributed to two reasons — First, proximity to a Tier I city like Mumbai and second, an expressway connecting the two cities. Suddenly, more and more factories were set-up in the city, while the promoters mostly lived in Mumbai. The city has always been a vibrant education hub, therefore, the availability of skilled and knowledgeable workforce.
Then the big thrust came in the form of IT/ITeS companies setting up shop in the city. It was easy for corporations and investors to conduct business from such a robust location with close proximity to Mumbai. There is no reason why such satellite towns and cities cannot be planned and built around the Tier I cities. Only then will we see steady growth and sustainability in the sector and the related economy.