Ahmedabad City – Part 2
This article is a researched article and borrows heavily from printed and electronic encyclopedias as well as material provided by our panel of research scholars, astrologers, academics and pundits.
This article is in continuation of Ahmedabad City – Part one published last month.
In the period just after Independence and there were prior to the phase of economic liberalization Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad were the five premiere cities of the country. Of these Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Chennai had all been developed by the British. Of these, New Delhi and Mumbai were the creations of the Britishers themselves whilst Kolkata and Chennai were given major make over. The East India Company first established itself in Chennai and later when the British set up Kolkata as their first capital they gave Kolkata a major re-do.
Ahmedabad, on the other hand had relatively minimal colonial influence. The driving force behind the development of Ahmedabad city has been indigenous enterprise along with a strong instinct for trade and industry. It is perhaps on this count that Ahmedabad has retained strong bonds with the past. Even today, its lifestyle and culture remains close to its cultural roots. Other cities in the same mould are Nagpur, Jaipur and Indore. Hyderabad and Bangalore too are of the same ilk but the post-liberalization period has carried them far and they are mighty mega cities.
From the Vaastu angle three factors have been the operative forces for the city. The Water bodies, Roads and the presence of industrial activity on the periphery.
Ahmedabad’s water bodies have been the boon and the bane for the city. As mentioned in the last issue the fortunes of the city are linked intimately with the Sabarmati river. Whenever the river waters dry up the city will see setbacks. In this connection the River front scheme is indeed one of the best things that could have happened to Ahmedabad because it promises to ensure that the river will retain its waters for all the 365 days of the year. The plans afoot to transform the immediate vicinity of the river banks is also a great initiative as it will bring the populace close to the river and also – hopefully – bridge the gap between the eastern and western parts of the city.
Another positive development happening is the recharging of the local ponds and talawdis on the one hand and on the other the sprucing up of Kankaria and Vastrapur lakes.
Ahmedabad has always been an expanding city and the receding frontiers have been its roads. Gandhi Road followed by Relief Road which in turn was followed by Ashram road and then CG Road which in turn was followed by SG Road and now the outer Ring Road. Vaastu lays stress on broad straight roads. The roads of Ahmedabad have always risen to the occasion as the city has expanded, with each succeeding road being wider and longer till we now have the Ahmedabad Vadodara Expressway which is perhaps the best of its kind in India.
Unfortunately the GIDC of Gandhinagar has roads that are not aligned to the cardinal directions and this has led to the bumpy fortunes of the industrial units situated there.
The life line of the economy of Ahmedabad has been its small to medium industrial units situated in the GIDC’s in the city.
There was much loose talk about the Sanand GIDC being the graveyard of all units there but this is in fact not true. I have had personal experience with this GIDC and can say that there is no fault with the place. What has happened is that a whole lot of speculators and shady characters got into dubious land deals for a quick buck resulting in the bad state of affairs. The fact that Nano, after being shunted here from W.Bengal has had a smooth run is indicative of the strengths of this GIDC.
The Dholka GIDC is another case in point. Earlier , due to the perceived long distance from Ahmedabad there was a lul in activity there but now the place is buzzing with units doing extremely well.
Ahmedabad is developing at a blazing pace. Builders having Pan-India presence are taking keen interest in the city. After the arrival of the Nano Ahmedabad may well become the next automobile hub for India. An extraordinary development for the city will be the Dholera port which will give Ahmedabad access to the sea, which from the Vaastu angle is a big plus point.