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Coming up in Chhattisgarh: India’s 21st century city

Raipur, July 13 (IANS) In the news more for its chronic insurgeny and tribal poverty, Chhattisgarh will soon boast of one of India’s most advanced, eco-friendly modern cities that will be the new capital of the mineral-rich state.

Located about 20 km east of the present capital Raipur, Naya Raipur has been designed on the lines of Malaysia’s hi-tech capital complex at Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, and is expected to cater to the infrastructural needs of

industry and trade in the region.

‘Some 90-95 percent land acquisition has been completed and we are shifting to a new state secretariat building in Naya Raipur, the 21st century’s first high-tech modern city of India, any time late this year, followed by head of department buildings within the next three-four months,’ N. Baijendra Kumar, vice-chairman of the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA), told IANS.

NRDA is the nodal agency to implement the new capital project, being built on an area of 8,000 hectares between National Highway-6 and National Highway-43 and in close proximity to the airport.

The shift to the new capital will be a leapfrog for Chhattisgarh, which was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in November 2000 in deference to local aspirations.

The state secretariat, the sheet anchor of the administration, has been operating from an old hospital building. The assembly is housed in a central government research centre.

‘NRDA has been spending Rs.180 crore for state secretariat building, Rs.200 crore for various head of the department buildings, Rs.300 crore for road, Rs.156 crore for the water project, Rs.160 crore for electricity and Rs.160 crore for transport,’ said Kumar.

He said the bulk of the projects in Naya Raipur are coming up on public-private-partnership (PPP) basis.

Naya Raipur will have a world-class convention centre, a five-star hotel, an IT SEZ, a gems and jewellery SEZ, a garment park, a theme residential township with an 18-hole golf course, an amusement park, super specialty hospitals, commercial office space, museum, art galleries, entertainment parks, botanical garden, a law university, an education hub, a cultural centre, malls and a sports complex.

All this will be supported by an excellent infrastructure of road and transport network, water and electricity supply.

Naya Raipur will have broadband connectivity provided through optical fiber cables (OFC) and Wi-Max as it will be an administrative nerve centre of Chhattisgarh having the state secretariat, police headquarters, legislative assembly, Raj Bhavan and offices of heads of departments.

‘Naya Raipur will be a planned and eco-friendly modern city and will serve not only as an administrative capital but also as an engine of growth for the state, it will be equipped with state-of-the-art physical, social and economic infrastructure,’ Chief Minister Raman Singh said.

A 60,000-seater brand new cricket stadium in Naya Raipur has already been opened where the state government is attempting to host international matches from next year.

The city will have a Bus Rapid Transit System linking it with the old Raipur. The central government has included in its recently launched sustainable urban transport project.

‘I can tell you Naya Raipur will become a model and a source of inspiration for city planners, architects, builders and policy makers anywhere in the world, added Singh, who has been heading the Bharatiya Janata Party government since Dec 2003.

Chhattisgarh has been at the forefront of India’s industrial progress. The ultra-modern Naya Raipur will add another feather to its brimming cap.

(Sujeet Kumar can be contacted at sujeet.k@ians.in)

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