In May 1997, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation launched a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL). The project aims to provide Ahmedabad with a meaningful waterfront environment along the Sabarmati River banks and redefine the identity of Ahmedabad around the River. The project has reconnected the city with the river and has positively transformed the neglected aspects of the riverfront.
Ahmedabad, 7th biggest city in India
Cities appear and disappear only to reappear in the tableaux of Indian civilization. The historic City of Ahmedabad was founded in the surge of Islamic conquests that had swept through India. It was established in 1411 AD by a noble, Ahmed Shah, who had rebelled against his overlords in Delhi. The new rulers of Gujarat, keen on establishing their superiority in the material realm, had undertaken a frenzied program of building activities in their new capital of Ahmedabad. Their model was the impressive Hindu architecture of the previous centuries, which they wanted to outshine. After one and a half centuries, the ‘Sultanate Architecture’ of Ahmedabad was considered a high point of world architectural heritage. This architecture, along with the Jain, Swaminarayan, and Hindu temples of the city, is a veritable safari of monumental architecture which attracts lovers of beauty from across the world to the city.
The architecture and the design of the new town of Ahmedabad, a walled town situated on the River Sabarmati, was a continuation of the Hindu building traditions by other means. These ‘other means’ were the new stylistic elements brought in by the new rulers. The city lies close to an older Solanki trading center, on the 371 km long river Sabarmati. That it was the seat of a splendorous court is testified by a French traveler, Taverniere, who had visited the town in the eighteenth century describing it as “the headquarters of manufacturing, the greatest city in India, nothing inferior to Venice for rich silks and gold stuffs curiously wrought with birds and flowers.”
A treaty with the then rulers of western India, the Poona Peshwas, brought Ahmedabad under British rule in 1817. The British were keen on annexing Ahmedabad because of “the commanding influence which the sovereignty over the city of Ahmedabad confers on its possessor in the estimation of the country at large.” At the time of the British arrival, the medieval economy of Ahmedabad had hung on three threads: gold, silk, and cotton. However, the British rule of law helped to flower the strength of the Ahmedabad Mahajan (trade guilds), and aided by the opium trade to China, by 1839, the town was “in a most flourishing condition and progressing rapidly.”
Modern textile technology further oiled the Gujarati virtues in ‘reinventing’ Ahmedabad. Its booming business in textiles had given Ahmedabad the status of ‘Manchester of India’ by the First World War. The success of the modern textile industry in Ahmedabad is a puzzle for the business historian as the town was considered unsuitable for the industry. However, some of these mills survived as late as 1989. The flourishing of the textile industry in Ahmedabad may be viewed as the triumph of Gujarati virtues of pragmatism, innovation, and creative collaboration. Mahatma Gandhi had felt a predilection for this town after his return from South Africa in 1917, staying on in the town for thirteen years and directing the historically unheard-of non-violent movement against colonial power in favor of self-determination for the Indian people.
Their successes in textiles turned the 19th century Ahmedabad mahajans into fine institution-builders; they played an important role in creating institutions like PRL, IIM, NID, ATIRA, and CEPT during the middle of the 20th century. The buildings of these institutions had attracted modern masters of world architecture like Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier to the city in the 1950s. Pharmaceuticals, construction, and textiles are the main industries of Ahmedabad today. The town contributes 14% of the total investments in all stock exchanges of India. The municipal corporation was formed in 1950. Sardar Patel, a great comrade of Mahatma Gandhi and the architect of modern India, was once a mayor of Ahmedabad. Sardar’s vision of Indian cities as heavens for Indian urban dwellers is the lodestar that directs the movement of this great city towards its future.
The City of Ahmedabad, now the seventh-largest metropolis in India and the largest in Gujarat, was founded in 1411 AD as a walled city on the eastern bank of the River Sabarmati. Historically Ahmedabad has been one of the most important centers of trade and commerce in western India. It is also a major industrial and financial city contributing about 14% of the total investments in all stock exchanges in India and 60% of the total productivity of the state. In addition, it is the home of several scientific and educational institutions of national, regional, and global importance. Moreover, the city has a great architectural tradition reflected in many exquisite monuments, temples, and modern buildings.
Ahmedabad nurturing the environment
Urban forestry is the new thrust area to increase the green cover in the city, enhance the livability in the neighborhoods, and provide the city with much-needed Green spaces and respite from the densely built environment. The Biodiversity Park and the Miyawaki plantation, along with other parks and gardens at Sabarmati riverfront, has increased the city’s Green cover and consists of a variety of native, fruit-bearing trees and many endangered species Trees.
Reduction in erosion and flood safeguards the city sewage diversion to clean the river water retention and recharge.
Reduction in Erosion and Flood
Based on the detailed hydrological and hydraulic analysis, strategies for flood protection, bank protection, and river training have been formulated. As a result, an optimal width of 263 meters for the waterway has been selected.
Based on the detailed hydrological and hydraulic analysis, strategies for flood protection, bank protection, and river training have been formulated. As a result, an optimal width of 263 meters for the waterway has been selected and implemented. In addition, both banks of the river have diaphragm walls built into the riverbed at a depth of more than 10m and retaining walls that protect low-lying areas from periodic flooding and prevent erosion of the river banks.
The Sabarmati has been channelized to a constant width without altering the flood-carrying capacity of the river. So now the project can sustain flood levels cusecs without spillage into the city.
To stop the pollution of the river from untreated sewage and industrial effluents, an integrated stormwater and sewage system with interceptor sewers has been implemented.
To stop the pollution of the river from the stormwater outfalls and industrial effluents, an integrated stormwater and sewage system with interceptor sewers has been implemented. These interceptor lines have been installed along both river banks, capturing 38 sewage discharge points and routing the sewage with new pumping stations in the reclaimed banks. These lines carry untreated sewage to the recently augmented sewage treatment plants south of Vasna Barrage.
Water Retention and Recharge
As Sabarmati is not a perennial river, a comprehensive strategy to manage and maintain water in the river throughout the year has been worked out. Water retention in the river shall enable recreational activities as well as recharge the groundwater.
As Sabarmati is not a perennial river, a comprehensive strategy to manage and maintain water throughout the river has been worked out throughout the year.
The Vasna Barrage, located just downstream of Ahmedabad, makes it possible to retain water for 15 kilometers upstream, the entire river’s length within the city. In addition, the Narmada Canal, which crosses the river a few kilometers upstream from the city, makes it possible to replenish the barrage-retained water that is used up for irrigation or is lost to evaporation and seepage.
The riverfront has adopted the process of cleaning the river by using the Floating Trash Skimmer Machine. The Skimmer Machine can gather the waste that is floating and is on shallow depths. Today, the river has been cleaned, and the ecosystem has plunged back to greenery and varied species of migratory birds.
SRFDCL is testing the quality of water and the oxygen level in the water to improve marine Biodiversity. As a result, a substantial level of Dissolved Oxygen is maintained in the water.
Activities created of parks and public spaces provision of socio-cultural Amenities for the city.
Rehabilitation & Resettlement
The project aims at resettling over 10,000 households that were previously living in slums along the banks of the river. Slum-dwellers living on the riverbed and affected by the project have been relocated and provided with ‘pucca’ housing with secure tenure. This process of providing each claimant a permanent, titled housing in one of the many relocation sites interspersed within the city’s boundaries has been carried out under the supervision of the Gujarat High Court.
The project also aims at integrating informal activities such as laundering of clothes and informal markets. The Laundry Campus provides state-of-the-art facilities for the washing community that traditionally used river banks to wash and dry clothes. The weekly flea market ‘Ravivari’ held every Sunday had been relocated to Riverfront Market, a site adjacent to its original location where specially designed vending platforms and designated areas for mobile vendors have been created.
Creation of Parks & Public Spaces
The project aims at transforming Ahmedabad’s riverfront to reconnect the city with its river. By reclaiming around 202 hectares of riverbed land on both sides of the river, for a length of nearly twelve kilometers, the project replaces a largely private riverfront with a public realm that will connect an expansive network of parks and promenades for the city’s five million residents to enjoy.
One of the key features of this project is a two-level, continuous promenade at the water’s edge along each bank of the river. The lower level promenade has a minimum width of six meters. It has been built just above the water level to serve pedestrians and cyclists and provide access to the water. The upper-level river promenade is being built to host a variety of public features: few areas for commercial and retail development, leisure activities, large parks and plazas, public washrooms, and retail kiosks. Together, these promenades provide Ahmedabad with an 11.5 km long pedestrian walkway in the city’s heart. Ghats punctuate the lower level promenade at planned intervals to access the water for recreational and cultural activities.
Provision of Socio-Cultural Facilities
To provide new and improved facilities for the city and to include sections with particular needs, provision of markets and vending areas to include street vendors, laundry facilities for the washing community, trade, and adequate facilities for the business community have been made in the project. In addition, the project replaces a largely private riverfront with an expansive public realm with a network of parks, waterside promenades, markets, cultural institutions, recreational facilities, and commercial developments for the city’s five million residents.
Generation of resources, revitalization of neighborhoods.
Aims to bring new life to the center of the city.
The project aims to be self-financing – to achieve its goals without relying on any funding from the government.
The project has been planned to be self-financing to achieve its goals without relying on any funding from the government. A small portion of the reclaimed land will be sold for commercial development to generate sufficient enough resources to pay for developing the riverfront and managing it. Volumetric regulations shall carefully control the private developments built on the riverfront to ensure that the built environment along the riverfront is harmonious and has a memorable skyline. Development sites indicate the land pockets identified for sale or long-term lease.
Revitalization of Neighbourhoods
The project aims to bring new life to the city’s center and spur broad-based revitalization of surrounding neighborhoods. The land uses of the reclaimed areas in the master plan have been allocated concerning the current land use of the adjacent areas. Eighteen precincts have been identified in the project, which will undergo gradual up-gradation to benefit residents and workers in central Ahmedabad by promoting integrated, high-density growth, focusing on walkability and public transportation.
What is a Citizen’s Charter?
Citizen’s Charter is a document that represents a systematic effort to focus on the commitment of the Organisation towards its Citizens for Standard of Services, Information, Choice and Consultation, Non-discrimination and Accessibility, Grievance Redressal, Courtesy and Value for Money. This also includes expectations of the Organisation from the Citizen for fulfilling the commitment of the Organisation.
Who is a ‘Citizen’ concerning Citizen’s Charter?
The term ‘Citizen’ in the Citizen’s Charter implies the clients or customers whose interests and values are addressed by the Citizen’s Charter and, therefore, includes not only the citizens but also all the stakeholders, i.e., citizens, customers, clients, users, beneficiaries, other Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations, State Governments, UT Administrations, etc.
Citizen’s Charter initiative covers the Central Government Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations and the Departments/ Agencies of State Governments and UT Administrations. Various Departments/ Agencies of many State Governments and UT Administrations have brought out their Charters. More than 600 Citizen’s Charters have been issued by Agencies/ Organisations of 24 States/ Union Territoriesso.
- A Times of India survey ranks Ahmedabad City as India’s Best City live-in in terms of infrastructure.
- The major base of trade, commerce, and industry and engine of industrial and financial growth of the state.
- Ahmedabad will be the First Indian City to receive UNESCO’s World Heritage City Status- Tentative Application accepted by UNESCO.
- Quality Water, Sanitation, and Sewerage Services
- Quality Public Transport System
- Financially well-managed City Government.
- An inclusive city that accommodates the urban poor with sensitivity.
- Ecologically friendly & Energy efficient
- Compact City with short traveling distances.
- Capitalizing on strong economic drivers to create growth and jobs.