15 December 2019

Realty Biz

We are looking at opportunities in affordable housing beyond Pune

 

The City Group has been at the forefront of high quality construction practices and impeccable design detail since its inception in 1996. Associated with several projects around Pune, the real estate developer is currently coming up with Amanora Park Town, touted as India’s first digital township. JK BHOSALE, COO, CITY CORPORATION LTD responded to queries from CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES on the contours of the Amanora Park Town project as well as the way forward for his organisation.

 

 

 

Could you offer us a bird’s eye view of the Amanora Park Town project?

Amanora Park Town is a 15 million sq ft area project located at Hadapsar in the eastern part of Pune. The project is expected to be fully constructed within a time frame of 10-12 years. Spanning 1.5 km end-to-end, Amanora promises a peaceful and hassle free lifestyle in an enriched natural habitat. Amanora is planned on over 300 acres of pristine land which will eventually occupy over 500 acres. Not only does the project seek to provide accommodation of over 12,000 houses but also compliments residential complexes with a 1.2 million sq.ft. ‘family day destination mall’ – Amanora Town Centre, consisting of retail, 8 screen multiplex, offices, cash and carry etc. Presently 2500 flats have been given possession and 3000 are under construction. All necessary infrastructure facilities like power, water, gas, solid waste management, digital services and security are in place. We are yet to cross the half way milestone of the development. The project is not just ecologically sound but is also equipped with every imaginable modern technical and digital facilities.

 

Please tell us of Amanora’s qualifications as a township project that makes it a first? What are the features, accomplishments and best practices which make it different from other model townships in the country, say a Magarpatta?

Amanora Park Town is the first special township being developed as per the norms of the special township policy of the Government of Maharashtra. The policy envisages large scale development of different neighbourhoods intended to serve various strata of society, predominantly for residences. It mandates provision and maintenance of all onsite infrastructure facilities including physical, social, health and educational utilities required for a township. In short, the township will virtually act like a private municipal body for a notified area and will be responsible to provide and maintain its urban infrastructure. Amanora is being developed as a modern suburb of Pune with unique features, wherein state-of-the-art physical, social, healthcare, sports, educational and digital infrastructure will be developed and maintained by the promoters themselves. In addition, the digital management factor incorporated in the township has become a trend redefining India’s real estate segment. Amanora will be the first digital township in the country with extensive use of IT to make life easy and hassle free for its residents. Amanora is not just India’s first smart township but is also the most awarded township project in the country with over 60 national and international awards in the field of architecture, urban planning, environment, branding, construction, CSR, retail etc. A major facet that makes Amanora different from other model townships in the country, like say a Magarpatta is that Magarpatta has not been developed under the special township policy, as the township policy was introduced later. Besides, most of the infrastructure in Magarpatta is provided by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) like water, sewage, solid waste management, fire fighting etc. 

 

What is the value – both in financial and style statement terms – it has created for the end user and the real estate community in Pune?

The Special Township Project is mandated by the state government’s Special Township Policy with guidelines like minimum 100 acres of contiguous land, connectivity and infrastructure provision responsibility by developer etc. Amanora Township has gone beyond delivering the minimum requirements of all criteria and is the fastest moving township project in the state. Within the given framework we developed a business model and alliances as part of our vision ‘To create quality and eco-friendly shelters for distinct classes and masses through integrated townships and related infrastructure, commercial, social, educational, health and entertainment, to provide the customers value for their money. Amanora is India’s branded township and has been awarded the brand leadership award in construction at the Global Awards of the World Brand Congress. While India has started talking of smart cities in 2014, we implemented most of the smart city elements in our township much earlier. The emphasis is on technology – information and communication technology (ICT) and technical solutions are being utilised in managing the entire infrastructure, safety and security and to make life clean, green and hassle free for the residents. We are scaling up this experience to help accomplish the Prime Minister’s dream of 100 smart cities. Work has started for cities like Indore and Pune in which we plan to be the integrator of smart city systems based on our experience. The Urban Development Department of the Government of India has acknowledged this initiative as the Swadeshi Smart city case study and even posted it on their web portal. Furthermore, our technical supremacy is owing to our association with the best in the field like IBM, Honeywell and COPADATA. In addition, we also focus on maintaining a qualitative approach, especially through our initiatives like renaming our residents as ‘Citizens’ and not customers, ‘walk to school, malls and hospitals’, 100 per cent recycling of solid waste, world’s first environmental temple in the township, 24X7 supply of water, power and gas. We have also incorporated prepaid power and gas meters, eco-friendly transport within the township, and smart cards as debit, entry and health data cards. For supporting our customers, we also have the 24x7 help desk to attend our citizens. We operate as a privately managed local body. Raw water is purchased, processed and distributed 24x7 at Amanora. Furthermore, we use 100 per cent recycled water for gardening, flushing and construction purposes. We bulk buy electricity from the state electricity board as a franchisee and distribute retail to our township citizens, wherein we reduce the distribution losses significantly and also allow pre-payment discount to the citizens. Amanora’s state-of-art infrastructure includes its own fire station with 55 m hydraulic platform, which is not possessed even by many municipal corporations today.

 

 

There has been a major shift in terms of developers contributing to the building of infrastructure? Tell us about your organisation’s focus in that direction?

Amanora has reversed the existing trend of providing infrastructure after development and has achieved this in style and substance. As per the charter of the State Government’s Special Township Policy – infrastructure provision and maintenance is the responsibility of the developer. Amanora has gone beyond this benchmark and has one of the best infrastructure within the township including two schools, mall, garden, 24 X 7 power, water and gas, sewage, award winning solid waste management system and modern fire station. It is virtually a privately managed modern suburb of Pune.

 

Tell us about the construction materials used and best practices in building Amanora? Please elaborate if there has been a departure from the general trend?

We have to build over 15 million sq. ft, the largest infusion of housing space in Pune by any company. This together with managing infrastructure is a gigantic job. After one year’s experience with outsourcing from PMC, the company decided to take full responsibility by itself to control, optimise cost and monitor qualitative performance. We were the first to use MIVAN technology in Pune which improves quality and speed of the construction. We have developed project management strategies and skills, consistent with the task. These included training at the worker level for MIVAN technology by the Malaysians, implementation and use of SAP/ERP, value engineering practices to control cost and time. We implemented ISO 9001-2008 and 14001-2004. The tunnel form technology is proposed for affordable housing segment, as it is volume oriented and cost effective, thereby ensuring maximum benefit to the middle-income and low-income grouped end users. As far as possible eco-friendly construction materials are being used, for reducing dependence on the ever dwindling natural construction materials like timber, burnt bricks etc. Additionally, the design specifications are finalised in line with the quality aspect and special emphasis is given on achieving the desired quality and product finish within the given budget frame.

 

 

Give us a sense of the architectural and design elements at Amanora and the value they have brought to living spaces?

The township development is based on the neighborhood concept with a social objective to provide senior citizens and children with independence by locating nearby daily activities; minimise local vehicular movements and enabling easy commutation of public and non-motorised transit; provide relationship within community and help safety by building watchable public spaces and support community initiatives through public spaces and buildings. Special care has been taken in the township to ensure that the elevations of the buildings in various sectors are neither too repetitive nor very different from each other. Adequate care is also undertaken to ensure that the elevations of buildings reflect the theme of the township and blend with the surroundings. The landscape design within the township is based on the relationship between built forms, earth forms, water, vegetation and integration of nature with manmade forms for maximum benefits of the residents. Entire residential sectors are built around large central landscaped spaces, wherein the focus is mainly upon bringing a close bond between the natural habitat and the residents. Such large landscaped spaces comprise 20 per cent of the township and each development sector has its respective share of 10 per cent landscaped spaces.

 

Tell us of your domestic and international collaborators?

Various reputed national and international architects and designers have worked on Amanora. To name a few: Mani Chowfla Architects & Consultants from New Delhi were involved in the master planning of Amanora; P&T Consultants Pte Ltd from Singapore have worked on six of our highrise apartment projects; MVRDV Rotterdam from Holland is associated with our Future Tower project; Walker S&T executed the designing of Amanora Town Centre mall. Further, all structural design of high rise structures has been executed by J+W Consultants.

 

Tell us of the emphasis placed on green and sustainability and civic cleanliness in the Amanora project?

We are an ISO 14001-2004 (Environment Management System) certified company. Our commitment to environment can be seen right from the planning to the final execution stage. We have implemented an environmental management plan with strong commitment. Our dedication towards eco-sustainability has won appreciation as an ‘enlightened professional approach’ from the Ministry of Environment, Government of India. We have implemented an environmental management plan which has made us possible to bag consecutively for three years the National Award for Environment Excellence from GreenTech, New Delhi in 2008-2010 and 2012. In our success cap, of the 60 odd awards we have bagged one third has been for environment practices. The award from CII for the ‘Most innovative project of waste to energy and zero waste management’ in 2013 is one among such achievements. Appreciation of Amanora properties is hence much above the average standards offered by Pune properties

 

What are the various technologies used in construction which contribute to making Amanora a Smart City?

Amanora Park Town, India’s first smart township, is a smartly managed suburb of Pune. Technology has been a key driver at Amanora in ensuring citizen’s life as clean, green and hassle free. The word hassle free has become key to our marketing and branding activities. Safety, security, convenience and payments for services are essentials part of smart city services. Amanora uses digital services/technology supported by its own Data Centre. It can be rightly categorised as a digital city and is managed by e-Governance processes. Effective infrastructure networks are established at Amanora through WIFI, GPS, GIS networks; and the township is also equipped with home automation, multipurpose smart citizenship cards, FTTH infrastructure, reliable quality communication for voice, data and video, access to Amanora web portal, video surveillance, biometrics, video doorbell, access control, prepaid metering system for utilities, SCADA solutions for township management etc. The effective utilisation of such technologies enables in ensuring qualitative life with a unique blend of nature and technology. Every citizen of Amanora will have a smart card which can be used for personal identification, health information, access to parking lot, access to apartment and a SBI debit card facility.

 

Are you looking to expand your presence to cities outside Pune and to Tier II and III cities? If so what are your plans for the affordable housing segment in view of the current exorbitant price points?

Amanora has emerged as an up-market as well as affordable housing brand in the state of Maharashtra. We initiated the township development under the Government of Maharashtra’s Special Township Policy. It is being observed that the demand for up-market housing is constantly growing. Out of the total houses planned to be built, as per policy requirement we mandatorily constructed 10 per cent of the houses of smaller size i.e. 40 sq m area. The township caters to the labour and service classes. Meeting the housing requirements for these sections of the population is of vital importance. The whole objective of quality housing and creation of a modern suburb of Pune is to curb the mushrooming of slums. We have formulated an Affordable Scheme of Housing at Amanora (ASHA – Community Living) adjoining the township on 25 acres of land with 2500 affordable houses. The sector offers all social infrastructure facilities with a hygienic and green lifestyle. We plan to replicate this model in more townships.

 

What is your organisation’s outlook for the future?

Our emphasis would be on the affordable housing in, around and beyond Pune. We are also looking at states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh – particularly in cities like Vadodara and the Bhopal-Indore Super Economic Corridor (BISCO). We plan to implement our vision to create eco-friendly and quality shelters for the masses through integrated townships and related infrastructure – physical, economical, social, educational, health and entertainment facilities for our customers by ensuring value for their money. We strongly support the Prime Minister’s dream of ‘Housing for all by 2022’ and ‘100 Smart Cities’ and hope to strongly contribute to the national objective through our initiatives.




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