Thursday, June 29, 2006

India's hottest city

Ghaziabad rated in world's 10 most dynamic cities
Neelam Raaj The Times of India Thursday, June 29, 2006
NEW DELHI: Believe it or not — and many inhabitants who have to battle pathetic infrastructure, chaotic traffic and soaring crime probably won't — Ghaziabad is in Newsweek's list of 10 most dynamic cities in the world. For good measure, it has also been billed "India's hottest city". Based on an advance copy of the latest UN forecasts for cities with populations greater than 750,000, Newsweek's list encompasses the fastest-growing cities in each of the world's 10 most important economies.
Only two major capitals — Moscow and London, which continue to outpace smaller rivals for unique national reasons — figure on it while the rest are aspiring middleweights like Toulouse, Munich and Las Vegas, or unknowns like Florianspolis (Brazil), Goyang (South Korea) and Fukuoka (Japan). Sanjay Verma, joint managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, attributes the rapid growth to Ghaziabad's excellent connectivity with Delhi, which creates more new jobs per year than Bangalore and Hyderabad, as well as an established IT destination like Noida.
"It's very strategically located on the old Grand Trunk Road. Not only does it attract a sizeable IT/ITES workforce from Noida, it is affordable for those who can't manage Delhi prices," he says. R C Mishra, Ghaziabad Development Authority secretary, doesn't deny that the rapid industrial development in Ghaziabad is the result of a spillover from Noida and Greater Noida. "Sahibabad was conceived as an industrial estate but Ghaziabad's growth has been quite recent," he says. Today, the city has more than 14,000 small-scale industrial units and larger plants run by giants like Coca-Cola and ITC.
Ghaziabad can boast of having only IMAX in N India
NEW DELHI: Ghaziabad has been billed "India's hottest city" by the Newsweek magazine. The spurt in high-end residential development is visible on the skyline of this factory sub-urb. Sold-out luxury condominiums, northern India's only IMAX as well as a host of glitzy malls and multiplexes have mushroomed alongside ubiquitious manufacturers of gears and gaskets. So have the GDA's plans.
Besides chalking out a Vision 2020 plan, it now has plans to wean away big players in the IT sector who have been staying away due to fears of inadequate security, power and traffic congestion. "Inquiries from corporates who want to establish a base here are coming regularly. We plan to demarcate different pockets so that the requisite infrastructural support can be provided," says Mishra.
For Leena and Siddharth Johri, who moved from a rented barsaati in upmarket Jungpura to a three-bedroom apartment in Indirapuram, reservations about living in Ghaziabad have disappeared along with rise in real estate prices. "Just two years ago, we bought our flat at the rate of Rs 1,500 per square foot and today it is over Rs 2,500. We are elated at the boom." A boom that has also placed Ghaziabad on the global map.