Jewar airport promises eye-popping development; avoiding BIC-like fiasco key
The Jewar airport will be India's first aerotropolis and has already set in motion a massive development of the surrounding region, attracting crores of investment
A 45-year-old Delhi-based freelance news photographer sold his 120 square metre plot in Jewar that was allotted to him by the Greater Noida authority at a subsidised rate in 2010.
Soon after the lucky draw, the photographer, Subhash Barolia, sold the piece of land as it had no connectivity then. He had little idea that years later the Uttar Pradesh government will announce Asia’s biggest airport in Jewar next to his plot.
“I sold the land in haste. It would have given a better return now. In fact, I would have considered making a house and shifting from my ancestral house in Karol Bagh,” said Barolia.
Jewar, a sleepy little village situated at the border of Gautam Budh Nagar district, has not only suddenly popped up on the map of Uttar Pradesh but has also become a buzzword for investors. All this happened after the Uttar Pradesh government signed a deal with Zurich Airport International for constructing Asia’s biggest airport here.
However, the upcoming Jewar airport in Greater Noida has several huge challenges to meet. It will not only be competing with the best airports in the world but is expected to make Uttar Pradesh one of the driving forces behind India’s development. After all, it is the country’s first aerotropolis – an urban concept where cities are built around airports speedily connecting time-sensitive suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and business people to distant customers, clients and marketplaces.
Experts already see positive signs in the region and state, which can be directly attributed the Jewar airport. However, they are keeping their fingers crossed as the area had the same expectations from the Buddh International Circuit (BIC), India’s first Formula 1 race track built by the Jaypee group. The project kicked off with a lot of fanfare but the bubble burst after the group started facing various financial irregularities. With a high level of optimism, many in the government believe that the two projects can be compared and the Jewar airport will transform the entire region.
Claiming Jewar is anticipated to be a popular global aerotropolis, Additional Chief Secretary (Information), Navneet Sehgal, said the Jewar Aerotropolis (JA) would boost business activities, resulting in more job avenues for locals as well as for those outside the district.
Townships like Greater Noida, Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, positioned strategically around the airport, can see long-term growth, Sehgal said, and added that Jewar’s strategic location, regional connectivity, infrastructure, regional economy, operational capacity, governance and real estate demand are sure-shot factors that could make it an airport capital.
Speaking to Plane Vanilla, Jewar MLA Thakur Dhirendra Singh said Jewar is a land of opportunities. He pointed out that with so many industries with huge foreign investment setting up businesses around the airport and Yamuna Expressway, it will not only bring huge revenue to the state but also create job opportunities for locals. “Like Singapore, the Jewar airport will have aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services. This will bring huge foreign funds. MNCs have started investing in the area and there will be a huge demand for unskilled labour as well,” the lawmaker said.
Despite the lockdown to control Covid-19, Uttar Pradesh has received an investment of around Rs 6,700 crore in the past six months. The state has received more than 40 investment intents of companies from countries like the US, UK, Germany, Canada, South Korea and Japan. A large chunk of investment is linked to the construction of the Jewar airport.
The area where the Jewar airport is coming up is also being developed as an industrial hub where upcoming projects include a micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) park, electronic park, apparel park, handicraft park, toy park, cargo complex, MRO facilities and so on. These are expected to bring in investments of Rs 40,000 crore and employment to about 2.5-3 lakh people.
The toy hub near the Jewar airport is expected to help in breaking China's hold over the Indian market. Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Officials revealed that in the current fiscal, 854 industrial plots have been allocated. Over a period of five to seven years, the allotment of plots will result in 1.6 lakh job opportunities and investments worth Rs 6,500 crore.
Noida International Airport Limited (NIAL) Chief Executive Officer Arun Vir Singh said that along with the Jewar airport in Gautam Budh Nagar, there are plans to build a Film City and a Toy City.
In October, the Uttar Pradesh government allotted about 700 plots near the Jewar airport to toy, apparel and handicraft manufacturers and MSMEs.
These units are expected to attract investments of up to Rs 30,000 crore. The units that come up in the area have the potential to create around seven lakh jobs.
Significantly, 108 plots have been allotted to domestic toy manufacturers. Leading domestic toy makers like FunZoo and Ankit Toys had submitted applications. Once operational, the toy manufacturing hub could create 25,000 jobs on its own and help to demolish China's hold on the Indian toy market. At present, 90% of the toys are imported from China and Taiwan.
The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) had earmarked 1,050 acres for industries to set up manufacturing units near the upcoming airport.
After the failure of the BIC Formula 1 circuit, Yamuna Expressway was seen as a ghost town but the expansion work due to the Jewar airport has brought life back in the region.
Badal Srivastava, Director, ABR Green Infrastructure, said, “Greater Noida has emerged as a great investment option as it will soon have a ceramic industry, electronic city, handicraft industry, film industry, manufacturing and engineering industries. In the next five-six years, minimum prices of plots will appreciate by five times and residential societies will give double returns.”
The Jewar airport project will be a massive boost to the real estate sector in the region. Image courtesy: Twitter/@99acresIndia
Srivastava explained that many working professionals will make this area their home due to the job opportunity and affordability of houses. “We are already seeing an upward trend and what is favourable for buyers is the basic rate and huge scope of expansion in the area,” Srivastava said. However, experts are warning to stay alert from shady builders and check their background and financial capacity before investing money.
Earlier this month, the YEIDA announced that it will develop two new cities -- one in Vrindavan spread over 4,000 hectares and the other in Agra spread over 2,500 hectares. The YEIDA said it will start work on a detailed project report for the two cities soon.
Despite the crisis caused by Covid-19, the YEIDA received an encouraging response from home investors. The YEIDA recently allotted residential plots via a lucky draw to individual plot buyers who want to build houses near the upcoming airport. The authority is set to earn a revenue of Rs 336 crore from the sale of these plots at a rate of Rs 16,550 per sqm.
Uttar Pradesh industries minister Satish Mahana has given approval for the development of a heritage corridor from Jewar to Agra to promote cultural tourism along the 165km Yamuna Expressway.
Taj Mahal is the top destination for foreign tourist visiting India. After the construction of the Jewar airport, a large number of tourists will prefer landing here as it will save them a lot of time.
The Jewar airport project will help tourists visiting the Taj Mahal save a lot of time. Image courtesy: Wikipedia
A senior official based in Lucknow told Plane Vanilla that the Yogi Adityanath government wants all old cities such as Dankaur, Mathura, Vrindavan and Agra to be promoted under cultural tourism in the proposed heritage corridor. The government will make this belt attractive to tourism so that tourists can spend more time here.
An official said that theme parks, museums and other facilities will also be constructed so that tourists enjoy their journey from the Jewar airport to Agra once the airport becomes operational. The government plans to run air-conditioned buses from the airport to Mathura, Agra and Vrindavan once the airport becomes operational by 2024.
“Our government has decided to give a boost to cultural tourism. Our historic cities, including Mathura, Vrindavan and Agra, are famous at the international level. Our government will provide all support so that tourists who come to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra are also able to go to Mathura and Vrindavan,” Mahana said.
Currently, the nearest airport for people of western Uttar Pradesh is the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport for which they have to travel to Delhi. It is very troublesome and also expensive. Jewar is being seen as an alternate airport that can lessen the burden on the IGI Airport by sharing a part of the footfall apart from decreasing the travel time for people of this region.
The only mode of transportation between Jewar and IGI is along an 88-kilometre long road route. But officials are working on giving multiple options and easing the pressure on the road. Multi-modal connectivity will be developed from Jewar to Delhi and other cities.
The Yamuna Expressway is a key element in the Jewar airport project. Image courtesy: Twitter
State-run engineering consultancy RITES has four connectivity options in mind, including road links to the airport site in Jewar. They have suggested creating a 62km-long rail corridor to provide a link through rapid rail, out of the 88km-long stretch.
For improved movement to south Delhi, RITES has also come up with an option of extending the network of metro connectivity. For better road connectivity to Delhi via Haryana, a link from Yamuna Expressway to Ballabhgarh has been suggested. An elevated road along the Yamuna has been planned between Delhi and Faridabad, which will also join the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.
The YEIDA has to provide a 7km-long link for the Ballabhgarh connection. The elevated road will extend up to the Kalindi Kunj-DND junction, according to the study.
Giving a boost to connectivity to the Jewar airport, the YEIDA said that the proposed bullet train line between Delhi’s Sarai Kale Khan and Varanasi will have a stop at Jewar. The high-speed train will take 21 minutes to reach Jewar airport from Delhi with an average speed of 320km per hour.
The high-speed railway project will run parallel to the 25-km Noida-Greater Noida Expressway. Officials said that the bullet train will be built on divider (central median) on the expressways to make the project cost-effective. It will drastically cut-down cost of land acquisition.
Dhirendra Singh said, “It is very important to have a robust transport system so that it can supplement the airport. The UP government along with neighbouring states are working on various road and rail connectivity plans for last-mile connectivity.”
Spread across 5,000 acres of land, whether the upcoming Jewar airport proves to be a silver lining for the Uttar Pradesh government or not will be seen in a couple of years' time.