SABARMATI flood design,” says S Mudrakartha, director,



‘World class’, ‘modern’ cities and many such terms creates
and interest in development of cities. To become a mega city, every city in
India takes up huge projects. Transformation of Sabarmati riverfront is one of
those. It is along the banks of Sabarmati river. The main aim of this project
is improving environment and sustainable development. Also the city’s
connection with its river is brought back to life. It is a two level promenade
on both sides of river. Pedestrians and cyclists uses the lower level and the
upper level is used to host many cultural and educational events, plazas and
public parks. Few spaces are used commercially and to sell goods. Total 202.79
hectares of land is recovered. This land is used for public as well as private
development. More than 85% of it is used for parks, gardens and sports
facilities whereas 14% is used for private and commercial use. 

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Fig 1.

The average width of the channel was 382 meters which was
then narrowed to 275 meters ensuring the construction will not affect the water
carrying capacity. But this caused floods which washed away hundreds of
hutments. . “Due to unreliable data and
contradictory assessments, one is forced to question the project’s river
hydraulics and flood design,” says S Mudrakartha, director, Vikram
Sarabhai Centre for Development Interaction, Ahmedabad. Design was just one
problem that resolved the project. Issue regarding pollution was not addressed. “The ecology of the river is being
transformed to satisfy the commercial greed of a select few,” says Darshni
Mahadevia of cept, reflecting concergns about riverfront beautification. Around
135 snakes made their way to nearby areas, into various factories. Snake holes
are near the river, when water is released, they leave their holes and go to
safer places. “Most of them
are non-poisonous snakes, but that does not mean we need not to worry,” said
wildlife conservationist Amit Rami. Also
due to insufficient rehabilitation facilities for the slum dwellers, criticism
was raised. The authorities succeeded in getting the lands from them but did
not resettle them.

French architect Bernard Kohn proposed this
project in 1960s but the construction began in 2005. Since 2012, it was
gradually opened to public. This project took place at the bank of Sabarmati
river in Ahmedabad, Gujrat.   “The
biggest paradox of the riverfront is that one of its key objectives was to
control flood. The idea was that the design would ensure that flood waters
stayed away from the city. The flow in the current design is not a natural
one,” said Navdeep Mathur of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM),
Ahmedabad. Flooding and rehabilitation were the main obstacles that were
faced, but in spite of all hurdles the project has now been completed. It was
inaugurated by the then CM Narendra Modi on 15 August 2012. Central government
funded with the capital of 10 million which included development of 104km
stretch of river flowing through the city.

The projects aim is to recover
the private river edge, strengthen the river. The river carried notable sewage
flow and used dumping yard for disposing garbage. The project tried to stop
this. It diverted sewage to sewage treatment plants instead of letting it into
the river. It provided large walkways with access steps, ramps, etc. Water
retained remains clean. The project encompasses the task of developing
and maintaining wide public promenades along the entire length of the river.
Under the Sabarmati project, the government also plans to develop various
access roads to the riverfront to improve public access. Despite of all
criticism, the project was completed successfully and was applauded by all. A
great example for urban development took place.









Good and bad side of Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project








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