With metro rail services extending to Greater Noida next year and a range of multinational corporations thronging Noida and Greater Noida to set up offices in the area, one of the key challenges that the district faces is bridging the urban-rural divide, said Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate N P Singh.
“We have to minimise the urban-rural divide. When areas are developed for industries and zones, farmers must feel that they are not victims but partners in development. Youth and children must be constructively engaged, otherwise communalisation will grow,” said Singh.
The district magistrate was part of a panel comprising a group of private investors, district administration officials and other stakeholders on whether the Noida-Greater Noida corridor could be the country’s next IT hub. The event was organised by The Indian Express, in association with Assotech Friday evening in Noida.
Elaborating on the steps being taken by the Uttar Pradesh government on using information technology in governance, Singh said as many as 20,000 e-centres were being set up across the state and laptops being distributed to bridge the digital divide.
Underlining the importance of a strong transport network for the development of any area as an IT or corporate hub, Parmit Garg, Project Director, Noida-Greater Noida, DMRC, said that by December 2017, Noida-Greater Noida will be the second city in the country after Delhi to have a wide metro rail network.
“A high capacity metro system is being planned in the city. Sustainable transport is a must for any city to grow as a corporate or an IT hub. We have a unique model here where two authorities have joined hands to bring in the metro. I must complement the authority and the state government for taking this pre-emptive action to bring in metro connectivity in these two areas,” said Garg.
Responding to a query on the nature in which the area was developing as an IT hub, Dharmendra Kapoor (COO, Birla Soft), said, “An image was created in the beginning of it being a manufacturing hub but slowly the image off an IT hub has come into being. We have been operating in Noida for more than 20 years — grew from 20-30 people to 3,000 people.”
Maintaining that cities such as Bengaluru and Gurgaon took centrestage for private investors a few years ago, Kapoor added, “A lot of MNCs are going to come here. Another large hub is needed since the requirement of companies is unlikely to go down. It is a good opportunity for Noida-Greater Noida to come up as an IT hub.”
Rajat Gupta, MD (Advisory and Transaction Service), CBRE South Asia Private Limited, said, “From the infrastructure perspective, Noida has come a long way. Why should it not become a corporate hub? Why not have high-end corporate offices? That then insulates the cities from the vagaries that an industry faces.”
Lauding the efforts of the state government and local agencies in the development of Noida-Greater Noida, Santhosh Kumar, CEO (Operations and International Director), JLL India said that while Noida “was a late starter, it has made up in due course”.
“The best infrastructure is in this city. All infrastructure required from the corporate side is present here. This city will provide you a standard of living which is very affordable. In which city does the government provide a long-term development plan and incentives in order to create a strong corporate eco-system? We see a lot of demand coming to Noida and Greater Noida,” said Kumar.
Voicing similar sentiments, Deepak Agarwal, CEO, GNIDA, spoke about the range of government schemes that are being implemented to develop Greater Noida – from an integrated industrial township to a one-stop solution for all regulatory clearances and even the country’s first helipad, based on a PPP model, in Greater Noida area. “Unless we see other industries, manufacturing and growing, IT cannot grow alone. An industry which brings employment creates an environment where IT companies can come in — only then can we think of making it an IT hub,” he said.