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Naya Raipur for a new Kabul.

Afghanistan looks to build new capital on Indian model

FOR AFGHANISTAN, India remains a model on many counts. Now the strife-torn country is looking up to Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh's new capital city, as a model for planning Kabul New City. A group of Afghan officials have been in Raipur to study planning, funding management and development of the city under Naya Raipur Development Authority. With the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Afghanistan is going ahead with building Kabul New City -- as the new capital for that country -- covering 740 sq km, about double in size of the existing Kabul city.

The project in Afghanistan is managed by Desabz City Development Authority DCDA) of the Afghan government.

On the selection of Naya Raipur -- India's first smart city' which is based on sustainability, JICA's senior consultant Sayeed Anjum said that he had visited the area twice during his nationwide search to identify successful example of urban planning. Naya Raipur's development was convincing, and that paved the way for Afghan experts to learn about Chhattisgarh's new capital city. "Naya Raipur is the best example of phased development," Anjum told M AIL T ODAY . "To meet the rising challenges, the Afghan government thought of building a new city adjacent to Kabul, just like Naya Raipur has been built adjacent to Raipur," Anjum said.

While studying the Naya Raipur model, the Afghans focussed on infrastructure, management of projects and construction works, and the techniques adopted, Anjum added.

The Afghan experts, who visited Naya Raipur for field studies, held dialogues with consultants here, and participated in seminars and training during their two-week stay in Raipur.

They said Naya Raipur is indeed among the best-planned cities of the 21st century that will serve as template for Kabul New City.

As in the case of many other cities around the world, Kabul too is witnessing a rapid influx of migrants in search of employment and security. In the last 10 years, population of the Afghan capital has increased exponentially.

With a surge in population, several informal settlements have sprung up in Kabul. It has led to pollution as a result of poor urban management and lack of infrastructure.

Afghan officials said that in Kabul there is lack of educational, health and recreational facilities. There is an urgent need to build infrastructure -- transport, drinking water supply, energy, sewerage system and drainage being some of them.

Several countries, including India, are involved in developmental projects in Afghanistan.

JICA has been extending cooperation in ' capacity building' of the Afghan officials, besides assisting in development projects.

Mohammed Shoaib Sahibzada, who was part of the Afghan panel, said the plan for Kabul New City was mooted in 2009.

"Master plan for the new city includes various kinds of land use. It features residential, commercial and industrial facilities, infrastructure, public facilities, green spaces, parks and agriculture," the Afghan team informed.

The plan will be implemented over the next 25 years.

The Afghan officials in Raipur said they were impressed by the international standards adopted to develop Chhattisgarh's new capital. "The accomplishments of the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) have inspired us," an Afghan official told M AIL T ODAY . NRDA chairman N. Baijendra Kumar said, the new capital city is "fast becoming" a model for best urban planning. "Such visits, like the one by Afghan officials, help in better networking as we share how the underlying concepts for Naya Raipur have been successfully implemented," he told Mail Today, adding that a lot of credit goes to political and administrative will for the successful implementation.

HI-TECH PROJECT

NAYA Raipur, a modern hi-tech new capital city, is the most ambitious and visionary project of Chhattisgarh.

It has gathered momentum on the initial administrative and political life that remains in full swing. An independent nodal agency, Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA) was set up in 2006 to control and manage the development and progress of the new smart city located some 20 km from Raipur. The development of Naya Raipur is to be carried out in a phased manner, spread over a period of 25 years.

The total project cost of the three-phased project to continue till 2031 has been estimated to be `20,000 crore.

Attractions of Naya Raipur include the modern state secretariat and Head of Departments.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Jul 6, 2014
Words:729
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