Ahmedabad: Gujarats core of technological development and innovation



Ahmedabad, located on the banks of River Sabarmati, is the largest city in Gujarat with a population of 5.8 million. It has ranked third on Forbes list of fastest growing cities over the past decade. The city is divided by River Sabarmati into two main zones. The first being the old city on the eastern bank, that includes the railway station and post office. The western side meanwhile is more modern, the location of several educational institutions, shopping malls, planned residential complexes and business districts.

The city is known as the Manchester of the East due to the textile industry being traditionally established here. It is among the nations top producer of cotton garments and products. Today, aside from the textile industry, Ahmedabad has also transformed itself into a hub for pharmaceutical and chemical industries, while simultaneously encouraging educational and information technology sectors to expand. Institutes such as CEPT, NID and IIM are located here and efforts to develop the city as an IT and ITES destination have been considerably successful.

Housing and Real Estate

Recent trends indicate that various developers and real estate companies have shown interest in building residential townships in the citys suburban areas. The citys real estate sector is booming primarily due to liberal policies, efficient governance and the growing industrial sector. Flats, apartments, serviced apartments, bungalows, penthouses, township properties are seen to sprout across the city in response to the rising demand. Bungalow schemes are especially popular, particularly towards the outskirts of Ahmedabad, along Sardar Patel Ring Road. With paucity of land and soaring real estate prices, however, the trend of constructing apartment buildings has become more common, with high-rise towers rapidly reshaping the citys skyline. The prime growth corridors for real estate development include Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Road, Sardar Patel Ring Road and localities of Nirnayanagar and Ranip. Further, the Housing Sentiment Index survey 2014 shows that Ahmedabad has the maximum proportion of youngest real estate buyers.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has plans of launching housing schemes for 4937 lower income groups (LIG), under the Mukhya Mantri Gruh Yojana. As part of the JnNURM scheme, 1888 houses are set to be meanwhile constructed in the Vatva area.The plan not only includes construction for housing, but also shops, kindergarten schools and a dispensary. The department will be utilising 20% of land of closed mills for the construction of buildings. AMC will further build around 5000 housing units for the economically weaker section in 15 places in the city.


Ahmedabads bus rapid transit system (BRTS), designed by CEPT University is known as Janmarg, meaning way of the people in Gujarati. It is operated by a subsidiary of the AMC and is considered to have dramatically altered the urban transport system. Primary importance is given to buses, pedestrians and non-motorized transport by keeping their flow apart from that of motorized traffic through creation of separate lanes, cycling tracks and wide footpaths. Use of technology such as making the buses GPS enabled, establishing e-ticketing systems, applying Intelligent Transport System (ITS) have made this system revolutionary. The project has helped in solving traffic congestion issues of the city, offering flexible routes and providing an eco-friendly transportation network. It has won several awards including the Best MRT Project in India (2009) and the Sustainable Transport Award (2010) from the Transportation Research Board in Washington.The Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) is meanwhile maintained by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and runs the public bus service. Currently, it runs 750 buses across the city.

The city is part of the Western Railway Zone and its railway station is known locally as Kalupur. A feasibility study to construct a mass-rapid transit system is also currently underway. Ahmedabad is connected to Vadodara via National Expressway 1 that is part of the Golden Quadrilateral project. As for the rest of the country, it is linked to Delhi and Mumbai through National Highway 8 and to Ahmedabad through National Highway 8C. The Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport is located 15 km from the city centre and is the busiest airport in the state, offering both domestic and international flights.


In 2009, Ahmedabad bagged its first gold in national e-governance scheme, for its achievements in facilitating easier communication between citizens and local government. Due to problems of lack of transparency in the administrative systems, delays in service provision and citizens complaints about the poor service systems , the need for investment in information and communications (ICT) technology structureA? was all the more urgent.A? Various services are provided under the e-governance reform including basic citizen services-registering birth and death information, revenue earning services- property tax and licences as well as development services such as water supply and other utilities, among others.A? Success of this initiative can be assessed from the fact that the number of users of this service has greatly increased over recent years and other indicators such as property tax collection from the IT based service having risen from 38% to 80%.

Sanitation and Solid Waste Management

AMC is partnering with the United Nations Centre for Regional Development to ensure Ahmedabad becomes a resource efficient and zero-waste city by 2031. Out of the 110,667 metric tonnes (MT) of solid waste produced monthly, only 10,000 MT was processed in 2012. Around 90% of the generated waste was dumped at the Pirana landfill site, making waste disposal expensive monetarily and leading to loss of valuable resources. This called for a more effective means of waste management. AMC seeks to involve all stakeholders including NGOs, researchers and academics, Government department, business sector, informal sector and citizens in this initiative.

In 2013, AMC implemented the pilot phase of a project of supervising solid waste collection vehicles using global positioning system (GPS). With better solid waste management, overall sanitation and well-being of the city could be achieved.The civic body also signed a MoU with Abellon Energy in 2013 with aims of producing 20 MW power using waste sewerage. Production for this is likely to start by 2016, by applying the process of thermal recycling technology to use solid waste as fuel to generate power.

Culture and Tourism

Ahmedabad is well-known for its unique style of architecture that combines Hindu and Islamic forms, known as Indo-Saracenic style. This reflects its past roots back to the time when the city was ruled by Ahmed Shah. Sidi Sayed Mosque, Bhadra Fort, Jama Masjid, Jhulta Minar, Teen Darwaza are some of the popular tourist attractions. With such architectural wonders to its name,A?the city has even applied to claim a spot on the coveted World Heritage Cities List. The cityscape also includes modern buildings designed by architects such as Le Corbuzier, Louis Kahn, BV Doshi and Anant Raje.

Other famous tourist spots of the city include Victoria Gardens, Chandola Lake, Vastrapur Lake and Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project.


One of the toughest challenges the city faces is that of traffic congestion with around 22 lakh vehicles on the roads and almost 600 vehicles being added on a daily basis. The most viable solution for this would be to make public transport more popular among citizens. In terms of housing, the city has over 700 slums and in order to attain the goal of making the city slum-free, a slum rehabilitation policy has been launched. Meanwhile, officials have expressed that greater citizen participation and awareness is required to improve sanitation and overall hygiene in the city. Job creation particularly for the poorer sector and cost maintenance of public services are other important concerns for the city. Ahmedabad faces the obstacle of being located in the seismic zone A?IIIA?and is prone to drought, desertification and extreme heat conditions. Nevertheless the city has already been touted as the best city to live in in 2011, given its exceptionally low crime rates and its conducive environment for establishing start-up companies. Addressing the remaining issues will further help improve Ahmedabads prospects for a brighter future ahead.