Ahmedabad Fast Losing Green Cover, Riverfront Faces Possible Makeover

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Ahmedabad Fast Losing Green Cover, Riverfront Faces Possible Makeover

| Updated: January 5, 2023 13:25

In its analysis of urban development on land cover changes in three cities in Gujarat, the December 2022 edition of Geographica Pannonica zooms in on Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Rajkot as leaders in the race of rapidly industrialized cities. It notes that urbanisation generally serves as a key navigator of the economic growth and development of a country. 

However, in its bid to expand, Ahmedabad’s growth has come at the cost of its green cover. The study, undertaken by Alpesh M. Patel and Anil Suthar notes “change detection by utilising remote sensing technology” to assess among other markers, “environmental and landscape tracking.” The changes were tracked over a decade (2011-2021).

Migration to larger city areas also entail problems such as availability of fresh air, water quality, traffic management and drop in vegetation areas. 

In face of all such noting, comes the glaring truth: Ahmedabad has lost 57.13 sq km open land that could have been used for public recreational spots such as park and 30.36 sq km of vegetation cover. The city, has however gained in built-up area: a rise of 87.39 sq km between 2011 and 2020. In short, Ahmedabad has is rapidly losing its green cover and oxygen blanket to concretisation and dust envelopes. 

The scientific journal’s publication has bolstered a recent survey by earth sciences researchers from IIT-Roorkee and Bangalore’s National Institute of Advanced Studies. The report compiled a “heat map” showing how depleting trees was responsible for increasing temperatures in certain areas. This study pointed out that by 2030, temperatures in areas such as Sarkhej, Shilaj, Chandkheda, Motera, Tragad, Amiyapur, Ognaja and parts of Sabarmati will hover around 45°C during summers. 

As if this were not enough, Wednesday’s high-level meet between realtors and civic authorities is another cause for concern. 

Association of realty developers CREDAI Ahmedabad has proposed to the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) to consider residential development along the riverfront along with the mix of commercial buildings. The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting between both organisations, Wednesday.

The first phase of the Riverfront — between Vasna and Dinesh Hall — has an FSI (floor space Index) of 17 lakh sq ft. CREDAI has proposed highrises such as Iconic Towers on the western riverfront.

Likewise, based on the available FSI, they can have special projects like hotels, hospitals, amusement parks among others in the eastern part of Riverfront to utilise FSI judiciously.

Phase-2 development would be adding 5.8 km to the existing 11.5 km stretch on the Riverfront East and 5.2 km to the existing 11.5 km stretch on the Riverfront West of Phase I ending at the Indira Bridge. Officials have targeted a 34-km stretch of riverfront development on both the banks.

According to SRFDCL chairman Keshav Varma said: “The concept, plan and design development for phase-2 emphasises on greener development via green parks, multi-layered promenades, road network, kids’ play area, food plaza, amphitheatres among others.” 

As for allowing residential development on reserved plots, he said, “I can’t comment anything on it at this moment. But we are working with multiple agencies for development of the best possible infrastructure on the premium riverfront.”

CREDAI Ahmedabad President Tejas Joshi added: “During the meeting with SRFDCL, we suggested optimum utilisation of the premium space. We have also sought incentives like removal of GST, single window clearance for the projects.”

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