Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (Auda) is abstaining from allotting development permissions (DPs) for commercial and residential projects in six pockets of land designated under the knowledge institute zone in the town planning scheme, where educational institutions and universities are supposed to be built.
The zone covers 24.1 square km specific pockets of land in villages such as Manipur, Godhavi, Kathwara, Unali, Ranchharda, Nasmed, Ranchhodpura, Vasanda, Badodara, Devdi, which are located around Ahmedabad city.
However, senior Auda officials have told that the state urban development department is likely to make amendments on the development norms in the knowledge institute zone in the current general development control regulations (GDCR).
“There is no written circulars, but Auda for now anticipates that certain amendments will be undertaken for the GDCR,” said an official.
The decision comes amid complaints that the original purpose of the knowledge institution zone was not being adhered to, and that residential and commercial constructions were cropping up in this zone. The knowledge institution zone was part of the development plan and the GDCR of Ahmedabad, approved by the Gujarat government in December 2014.
The Auda had announced its intention to draft the Manipur-Godhavi town planning (TP) scheme on March 9, 2016. The draft TP scheme was approved by the Auda on January 19, 2017 and submitted to the government for approval on April 18, 2017.
The process of appointing a town planning officer (TPO) was completed on June 26, 2018. The state government gave the draft preliminary approval of the TP scheme in 2022. However, for the last one year, development permits have been stopped in all the lands of this TP scheme, which covers 372.1 hectares.
According to the old GDCR of 2014, only educational institutions could be approved for construction in the knowledge institute zones. After the GDCR was revised in 2017, residential and commercial constructions were also allowed under the R-2 category. This led to a surge of residential projects in areas like Manipur-Godhavi, which are adjacent to Bopal, a fast-growing suburb of Ahmedabad.
Apart from this TP scheme, the development permit has also been put on hold as several plots falls in the knowledge institute zones in villages adjacent to the city. An Auda official, who did not wish to be named, said, “All the lands in the Manipur-Godhavi TP Scheme No. 429 belonged to the knowledge institute zone, but after the amendment in Common GDCR 2017, schemes of residential and commercial construction were being approved here. We are waiting for the state government to make amendments to the development norms in the knowledge institute zone.”
He added that no written order has been issued in this regard.
The decision to halt development permits in the knowledge institute zones has raised concerns among some developers and landowners, who claim that they have invested heavily in these areas and that their projects are stuck due to the uncertainty.
They also argue that there is a high demand for residential and commercial spaces in these areas, which are close to the city and have good connectivity. On the other hand, some educationists and activists have welcomed the decision, saying that it will protect the academic character of these zones and prevent them from becoming concrete jungles. They also hope that more educational institutions and universities will come up in these zones, which will boost the quality of education and research in Ahmedabad.