SabarmatiRiverfront....Socializing a River& Inclusive DevelopmentBy, Sabarmati River FrontDevelopment CorporationLimited & AMC1

SabarmatiRiverfrontSabarmatiRiverfront....Socializing a River& Inclusive DevelopmentRiver Sabarmati, the lifeline ofAhmedabad, gained global recognitionwhen Mahatma Gandhi set up his ashramon its bank in 1917, lived there for morethan a decade and, in 1930 led from itsbank the famous Dandi March that rousedthe entire nation. Almost after a century,it is again in the news, all over the world.Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’spet project ‘Sabarmati Riverfront Project’has made waves at international level.KPMG, one of the world’s topadvisory firms has included Ahmedabad’sSabarmati Riverfront DevelopmentProject in the list of ‘100 Most InnovativeProjects’ in the field of urban regeneration(2012) that make cities livable as wellas sustainable. Ahmedabad MunicipalCorporation (AMC) received HUDCONational Award 2012 for innovativeinfrastructure development for theRiverfront Project.This project also bagged thePrime Minister award for the best conceptand design of a public project. In 2006,the Sabarmati Riverfront Project had alsowon the National Safety Council of India,Safety Award.Though the project has wonseveral awards on different fronts, themost significant USP about this landmarkproject has not been highlighted enough.This project is unique because it trulysocialized a river, a historic river, whichthrough decades of neglect and decay,had become a pathetic caricature of ariver. The project dealt with sensitiveissues like slum rehabilitation, relocationof an age old natural market and a DhobiGhat with élan. This project by its inclusivenature has benefited the people from thelowest strata of society. This project hasconnected the river and people, againdirectly through its ghats.The Sabarmati RiverfrontDevelopment Project was conceived andis being implemented as a pioneeringmulti-purpose project with significanturban transformation potential. A SpecialPurpose Vehicle called the SabarmatiRiverfront Development Corporation Ltd.(SRFDCL) was formed for implementationof the project. The SPV model was beingused to avoid the delays associated withmunicipal decision making, introduceease in raising resources, and givesimplementation efforts a definitive thrustand focus.2 3

SabarmatiRiverfrontSRFDCL reached out to severalNGOs and citizen groups during theprocess of planning and implementation.SRFDCL retained consultants andplanners wherever necessary for projectimplementation. The implementation wasdone on a Build, Maintain, Operate andTransfer basis. Private sector contractorswere selected on fixed time, fixed ratecontracts through transparent andcompetitive biddings processes andsupervised by independent Third Partiesappointed by SRFDCL.The financial cost of the initiativewas estimated to be in the range ofaround INR 11520 million or USD 230million. Around two thirds of this amounthas already been invested. The proceedsfrom the sale of land created by theproject is expected to cover the fullcost of the project, including the cost ofinterest paid on construction, period loansand repayment of equity investments.The sale of portion of reclaimed land(not more than 14% of reclaimed land,though allowed to sell 20 per cent) isenvisaged to assist the financial viabilityof the project so that the public fundsare not stretched. This clear thinking andstructuring contributed to the perfectimplementation of the project.In the subsequent pages, wedeal with the human challenges that thisgigantic project dealt with successfully.4 5

tmentsBeforeRehabilitation ofSlum DwellersGujari Bazaar -Sunday MarketBeforeAs a place for the poor to build their hutmentsThere were nearly 12000 hutmentson both banks of the river occupying nearly20 per cent of the critical project area. Acommittee was formed under an ex-HighCourt Judge for finalization of beneficiariesand a Comprehensive Settlement was arrivedat under the supervision of the hon’bleGujarat High Court. More than 10000families have already been allotted housesfor resettlement. 9078 odd families havealready been shifted and the remaining isunder the process. Of the total allotments,6 were Christian, 3874 were Muslims and5198 were Hindus. Each house is of 26.77 sqm carpet area. They were provided with aplaying area for kids along with recreationfacility. Normally, such relocations of slumsusually happen in far-off outskirt areas ofthe city, whereas in this case the resettlementareas were very much in the prime locationsin the city. Current market value of thesehouses is in the range of INR 10 to 25 Lakhs.Since a river is treated as the mother inIndia, it was decided to empower the womenin this rehabilitation project by allocating thehouse in the name of the woman member orin joint name.Gurjari Bazaar is an age old Sunday Market,where women traders comprise close to 40 per centand half of these describe themselves as Dalits. Thebazaar provides livelihood for an estimated 200,000lower-income residents, through a complex regionalchain of artisan entrepreneurs, home workers,mechanics, technicians and small traders. It used tooperate near Ellis Bridge on the Riverfront without anyinfrastructure and used to spill out on the adjoiningapproach road. It was unhygienic and subjected torisk of flooding during monsoons. Now, it has becomethe first well developed informal market in India. AMoU was signed between the Ahmedshah GurjariAssociation and Sabarmati riverfront DevelopmentCorporation. Out of 1200 members of association,726 members (60.5%) are Hindus and 474 members(39.5%) are Muslims.Today it is spread over 70,000 and 1600vendors can do their business on 778 pucca platformsand 783 laris. Adequate parking space is providedfor 280 two wheelers, 425 four wheelers (1700 twowheelers) and 8 no’s of heavy vehicles. More than200 street lights have been provided in this Marketand 800 trees have been planted. Also other basicfacilities like toilets, food-court, drinking water, andseating area have been provided. With this uniquerehabilitation exercise, the litigation and the stayorder from the High Court could also be vacated topave way for the new initiative.NowNow6 7

Dhobi GhatThere were nearly 172Dhobis using both the banks ofthe river for washing activities.They were relocated into theDhobi ghat (laundry campus),which is constructed on theeastern bank of the River nearVasna Barrage.There are 7 blocks in theModern Dhobi Ghat and eachblock is having 24 units i.e. 168units. Well developed watersupply and drainage system hasbeen provided with water meterfor inlet watering. Washer mencan dry washed cloths on thetop floor of the area provided tohim. Facility has been providedto use pulley to take the washedcloths to top floor.BeforeBeforeEvent AreaA mega city likeAhmedabad requires a properevent management groundequipped with modern facilitiesfor hosting mega events. Hencean area of 60,000 sq mt, spreadbetween Sardar Bridge and EllisBridge on the West Bank hasbeen designated for hostingsuch events like the Kite festival,the Marathon, the Cyclothon,and Garib Kalyan Mela( for theurban poor) are organized.Earlier the dry river bedwas used to host events likecircus and cricket etc. But, nowthe redeveloped riverfrontprovides unique opportunitiesto host mega events.This modern Dhobi Ghatspread over approx. 9400 sq.mtarea has an utility area of about6000 Internal RCC road,adequate lighting and parkingfacility are provided along withcompound wall and providingsecurity to washmen’s stuff.NowNow8 9

BeforeUrban ForestryThis unique afforestationproject is spread over 1 lakhsq mt, is situated betweenVasna Barrage and AmbedkarBridge. Natural forestry is beingdeveloped with different plantspecies from Gujarat, includingcertain very rare species.This garden comes witha mediation area as well andprovides the citizens an escapeinto vast greenery in the midstof a sprawling metropolis.Sewage SystemAn interceptor sewersystem was constructed onboth the banks of the river tointercept the sewer runninginto the river and divert it to thetreatment plants.The sewage from 36drainage points used to falldirectly into the river earlier,making the water dirty,mosquito ridden and creatingan unhealthy environment.All sewage now goes topumping stations, leading totransformation in river quality,and drastic improvement in theenvironment around the river.BeforeA few drains brought sewage into riverNowNow10 11

Connecting Riverto CommunitySabarmati river plays animportant role in amongst all religiousgroups in Ahmedabad. But graduallya disconnect developed between theriver and the citizens of Ahmedabad.The river front development initiativeremoved this disconnect and connectedboth by constructing 36 Ghats (Stepshaving access to the river).For last 122 years, it has beena tradition that the Mahant of theJagannath temple, along with thecongregation carrying Kalash (Pot) onelephants approaches the Sabarmatiriver and after rituals performed by thepundits, the water of Sabarmati Riveris piously carried back to the templeto worship Lord Jagannath, before theRathyatra starts.The Riverfront has witnessedhuge religious gathering of Jains,wherein large number of Jainsperform group Parna (Releasing fastthough a ritual). Religious processionof Tajiya processions of the Muslimsduring Muharram and the structure issubmerged in the river through its stairsand ghats (Steps).BeforeBeforePromenadeThe diaphragm walls in the bedof the river and the retainingwalls along both banks havecreated a channel for the river,have stopped erosion of theriver banks, protect the cityfrom flooding, and allow someland to be reclaimed for thecity.A key feature ofthis project is a two-level,continuous promenade onboth sides of the river. It isbuilt just above the water levelto serve only pedestrians andcyclists and to provide accessto the water.What it means is thatthere will be no more privateownership of any part ofthe river bank. The wholestretch of river banks is opento every citizen. This is thetrue socializing effect of theriverfront project, which doesnot allow private ownership tothe river at all.NowNow12 13

Public Gardens/Flower Garden27 per cent of project land isbeing developed for parks and gardenspace for cultural facilities. There are 3gardens. One garden of 60000 Sq mt,between Subhash Bridge and DadhichiBridge on east bank and anotherGarden of 25000 sq mt at Usmanpurabetween Gandhi Bridge and NehruBridge on west bank have alreadybeen open to public.BeforeThere will be a flower gardennear the event area spread over 40,000sq mt. It will be on west bank of theriver.Now14 15

Water RecreationThe project provides forvarious water sports facilitiesall along the river course onboth banks. Boating facility isavailable at various locationson both banks of the river.Zip Line, Amphibian Bus andSabarmati Darshan, throughferry and adventure watersports activities are plannedfor near future.A giant ferry wheelproject, like the famous LondonEye project is also under activeconsideration in the riverfrontarea.BeforeNow16 17

GlimpseSabarmati RiverfrontDevelopment18 19

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The examples clearly illustrate how the river has addedvibrancy to the urban landscape of Ahmadabad with its openspaces, walkways, well-designed gardens along with activitieswhich contribute to economic growth. Several other benefits of thisproject like recharging of ground water owing to the continuouspresence of water in the river and decongestion of the major north– south road (Ashram road) by providing additional linkages roadto the parallel roads running along the river front are available tothe citizens.The Sabarmati riverfront project is truly multi-dimensional.But the inclusive development model that the project attemptedto achieve has been truly unique. Never before has an urbaninfrastructure mega project, by a unique inclusive developmentmodel, covered all sections of the city and created world classfacilities for the entire city to enjoy.22 23

Let’s have a walk at Riverfront...............Sabarmati River FrontDevelopment Corporation Limitedwww.sabarmatiriverfront.comAhmedabad Municipal Corporationwww.egovamc.com24

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