18 October 2019

Interview-Aniruddha Deshpande (City Corporation Ltd)

We are scaling up to help the PM’s 100 Smart Cities programme

 

Pune based City Corporation Ltd has been at the forefront of developing projects especially Special Township Projects using high quality construction materials, modern and sustainable design practices. ANIRUDDHA DESHPANDE, MD, CITY CORPORATION LTD responded to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES on the company’s operational practices that have contributed to building an unique identity in the market.

 

On the company’s growth journey and key projects delivered so far: City Group is one of the leading real estate developers in Pune. Since its inception in 1996, the communities developed by the group have consistently outpaced the expectations of the industry. Some of the prestigious projects City Group is associated with are 1 Modi Baug, 10 Kasturkunj, Oxford Village, Sharda Arcade etc. in Pune. I was one of the first promoter of LAVASA, India’s first hill station after independence. Our flagship township, ‘Amanora Park Town’, is Maharashtra’s first special township being developed as per the norms of the Special Township policy of the Government of Maharashtra. The policy envisages a large development of different neighborhoods that serve all stratums of society, predominantly for residents. Amanora is being developed as a modern suburb of Pune with unique features like state-of-the-art physical, social, healthcare, sports, educational and digital infrastructure is being developed and maintained by the promoters themselves and we operate as privately managed local body. Amanora is the most awarded township in the country with over 60 national and international awards in the field of architecture, urban planning, environment, branding, construction, CSR, retail/mall etc. With the successful implementation of Amanora Park Town, the group would now take up more townships in and around Pune with emphasis on affordable housing.

               

On the company’s operational philosophy and key business areas: City Corporation Ltd (CCL) is an ISO 9001-2008 and 14001-2004 certified, flagship City Group company, incorporated with the main objective of real estate and township development, construction and property management. The company’s core function is ‘To create quality and eco-friendly shelters for the classes and masses through integrated townships and related infrastructure — commercial, social, educational, digital, health and entertainment to provide the customers value for their money'.

Being a township development company, our key area of focus is integrated township development which is basically a self-sufficient mixed use development of different neighbourhoods spread over 100 acres with residential, commercial, educational, recreational, amenities, utilities and green spaces areas but predominantly for residential usage, supported by dedicated state-of-the-art infrastructure.

 

On the company’s recent project launches, total units sold etc: India’s very first special township, Amanora Park Town is in Hadapsar, east of the booming metropolis Pune with over 15 million sq ft area to be built in 10-12 years. Spanning 1.5 km end-to-end, Amanora promises peace and quiet, bustle and vibrancy. Ecologically sound, yet with every imaginable technical, digital and modern facility, Amanora is planned over 300 acres of pristine land which will eventually be over 500 acres. Not only does it seek to provide accommodation of over 12,000 houses but also has complimented the residential complexes with a 1.2 million sq ft, award winning family ‘day destination mall’ – Amanora Town Centre, that consists of retail, 8 screen multiplex, offices, cash and carry facilities etc. Out of the over 6000 and so apartments launched so far over, over 5000 have already been sold. Presently 2500 flats have been given possession and 3500 are under various stage of construction. All necessary infrastructures like power, water, gas, solid waste management, digital services and security are in place.

 

On the best construction practices, echnology and special materials used in projects: We have to build over 15 million sq ft project, which is 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 outsourced PMC, the company decided to take full PMC responsibility by itself for control, optimising cost and 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 to control cost and time. We implemented ISO 9001-2008 and 14001-2004. We propose to use tunnel form technology for affordable housing which is volume oriented and cost effective benefitting the MIG and LIG end users.

As far as possible eco-friendly construction materials are being used, to reduce dependence on the ever dwindling natural construction materials like timber, burnt bricks etc. Also, the design specifications are finalised in line with the quality aspect and special emphasis is given on achieving the desired quality and finish of the product within the given budget. Amanora has reversed the existing trend of providing infrastructure after development and it has achieved this in style and substance. Amanora has gone beyond and it has one of the best infrastructure within the township including 2 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.

Furthermore, we buy raw water process it and distribute it 24x7. We use 100 per cent recycled water for gardening, flushing construction purposes. We bulk buy electricity from the state electricity board as a franchisee and distribute retail to our township citizens in which we reduce the distribution loss significantly, allow pre-payment discount to the citizens. Our state-of-the-art infrastructure includes own fire station with 55 M hydraulic platform which even many municipal corporation do not possess.

 

On the company’s approach towards adopting and utilising IT and ICT enabled technologies for project development: The company’s digital management aspect has become a trend in itself for the real estate sector in India. While India started talking of smart cities in 2014, we implemented most of the smart city elements in our township. We use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the technical solution which were used in managing entire gambit of infrastructure, safety, security, making life clean, green and hassle free environment for the residents. Amanora truly is India’s first smart township. We had made a presentation in the National Conclave of States and Union Territories on Smart Cities at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan in September, 2014 which was attended by officials from the the Urban Development Ministry We are scaling up our experience to help the Prime Minister’s dream to build 100 Smart Cities and the work has started for cities like Indore, Pune in which we plan to be the integrator of smart city systems based on our experience. The urban development department of the Government has acknowledged our Swadeshi Smart city case study by putting it up on their website.

 

On the company’s emphasis on environment and sustainability: We are an ISO 14001-2004 (Environment Management System) certified company. Our commitment to environment can be seen right from the planning stage. Even the Ministry of Environment, Government of India, has appreciated us for the professional approach maintained in our operations. We implemented environmental management plan with strong commitments. It made us possible to consecutively bag the National Award for the Environment Excellence for three years from the GreenTech, New Delhi (2008-10 and 2012). On the World Environment Day 5th June, 2008 we inaugurated the ‘Temple of Environment’ which is probably first-of-its-kind in the world. It has been registered and appreciated by United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP). Amanora bagged CII’s, Environmental Best Practices Award 2013 for ‘Most Innovative Environmental project’ for zero waste Solid Waste Management system. Out of our 60 odd awards one-third are for green/environment practices.

 

On the organisation’s outlook for the future: Amanora has emerged as an up-market as well as affordable housing brand in the state of Maharashtra. We initiated the township development under Maharashtra Government’s Special Township Policy. It appeared that Pune has up market housing requirement in plenty. Out of the total houses planned to be built, we have planned mandatory 10 per cent houses of smaller size i.e 40 sq. m. area as per the policy requirement. Therefore, we formulated an Affordable Scheme of Housing at Amanora (ASHA – community living) adjoining to the township on 25 acres of area with 2500 affordable houses. This sector would enjoy all the social infrastructure like the township and will also be clean and green as per the vision of the company. We plan to replicate this model in more townships which we plan to develop. So far we have concentrated only in and around Pune. But in the coming years we plan to develop projects in Mumbai and may be in the Bhopal–Indore Super Economic Corridor.




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