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Will tomorrow’s India live in integrated townships? The builders of Megapolis, a project coming up near Pune, believe so. Niranjan Mudholkar visits the site to check the progress. Photographs: Sandeep Patil

As emerging India is realising the importance of good living, it is turning towards integrated townships that offer self-sufficiency and harmony with nature. One such integrated township is coming up at Hinjewadi near Pune.

Aptly named Megapolis,  this township development is an ambitious project by Pegasus – a joint venture between Kumar Properties, the Avinash Bhosale Group, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and GIC (a 100% subsidiary of the Singapore government).

Project development will be mainly taken care of by the first two partners while MIDC, besides being a stakeholder, will support the project in terms of provision of roads, electricity and water. The project itself is part of Hinjewadi MIDC and this ensures uninterrupted power supply. The fact that this project has been selected by the Singapore government for investment says a lot about its potential.

Interestingly, Pegasus intends to primarily focus on building integrated townships within cities and Megapolis is its maiden offering. “The name Megapolis denotes a city that is magnificent, planned and beautiful, that’s why it was chosen,” says Hemant Kulkarni, GM (Marketing), Pegasus Properties Pvt Ltd.

Besides extensive residential developments, Megapolis will include IT spaces, a hyper market, a mall, general stores, educational institutes, a well equipped clubhouse, polyclinics, themed restaurants, serviced apartments, community halls, a library, a crèche, an amphitheatre, banks, sports fields & courts, swimming pools, special tracks for jogging and cycling, meditation centres and various places of worship making it a self sufficient community.

Adding to the comfort would be piped gas connection, an intelligent surveillance system, wi-max and attachment with the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital. Old age homes too have been proposed within the same layout as has been a helipad. The design by RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers integrates all the key components of a complete township in a very pleasant way. 

Launched on April 29, 2008, Megapolis will be spread over a vast expanse of 150 acres of land overlooking two hills on one side and an IT Park by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on another. There’s good logic behind choosing the project location. “Being an IT hub, Hinjewadi is one of the fastest growing regions in Maharashtra,” says Kulkarni.

Indeed, IT majors like Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra and many others are literally within 10-15 minutes of walking distance from the entrance of Megapolis. Since IT is a non-polluting industry, it’s well designed office spaces add a contemporary charm to the scenic natural surroundings of Hinjewadi.

“Moreover, its location on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway, its closeness to the auto manufacturing hub and short distance from the city of Pune makes Hinjewadi a happening place,” says  adds.

Given Hinjewadi’s advantageous position, the government had decided chosen it to develop as an IT hub. In order to make land acquisition easy, the government waived stamp duties for owned and leased properties built on MIDC land in Hinjewadi. And thus was created the Rajiv Gandhi IT Park where Megapolis is coming up.

Proximity to nature will definitely be one of the USPs of Megapolis. Incidentally, the rugged yet lovely Sahyadri Hill ranges begin just on the outskirts of Hinjewadi, offering a natural elevation to the project site as well.

Due to this, the higher floors in Megapolis will certainly offer panoramic views of Hinjewadi and Pune. Moreover, there are reserved forest areas surrounding the project sites ensuring a permanent natural setting.

Kulkarni says: “Conservation of environment has been one of the conscious decisions taken by us as developers of Megapolis. Only 20% of the site will be utilised for construction while the remaining 80% will remain untouched.”

One of the key challenges in this project has been excavating the huge land tracts for creating the underground parking. “Understanding our responsibility towards nature, we are using the excavated soil for gardening, road work as well as for building compound walls,” says Kulkarni.

Besides a huge island with a huge fountain near the entrance, the project will also have one of Pune’s largest landscaped gardens designed by Belt Collins International (Singapore). “Our emphasis has been on the synchronisation of natural elements,” says Kulkarni.

“For example, besides creating still water pools, we are creating a kilometre-long flowing water body running through Megapolis.” Pegasus also plans to create a bird sanctuary at Megapolis and is talking to IT firms including Wipro for sponsorship. “Of course, we would be managing the bird sanctuary,” says Kulkarni.

As far as construction work is concerned, the project is running on schedule. “We have divided the project into various clusters and the first cluster of seven buildings will be ready within 28-30 months,” says Kulkarni.

“The entire project is scheduled to be completed within five years. That’s quite fast given the scope and scale of the project. We are using the Mivan technology for this project and this has drastically reduced the time required for construction.” Although the construction work has been contracted to Man Infraconstructions, Pegasus has in-house architectural, engineering, electrical and plumbing departments. “These departments have Herculean tasks cut out for them. For example, the plumbing department is coordinating with the contractor to ensure that the project has a good sewage system,” says Kulkarni.

It is indeed a Herculean task to create an integrated township like Megapolis; it requires excellent planning, management as well as execution. Of course, having a strong commercial sense is essential, but equally essential is a vision.

It is this vision that calls for the creation of a bird sanctuary as well as a helipad. “When Azim Premji comes visiting Wipro’s IT park in Hinjewadi, we want him to land here and stay at Megapolis,” says Kulkarni.

Overview

Project name: Megapolis
Project type: Integrated Township
Location: Hinjewadi (Pune’s IT hub on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway)
Stakeholders: Kumar Properties, Avinash Bhosale Group, MIDC and GIC (a 100% subsidiary of Singapore Government)
Total project area: 150 acres
Total project value: Approximately Rs6000 crore
Scheduled time of completion: May 2013

Who’s doing what

Architects: RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers 
Developers: Pegasus Properties Pvt Ltd
Contractors: Man Infraconstruction Limited
Landscape Designers: Belt Collins International, Singapore, Shobha Bhopatkar & Associates
RCC Consultants: YS Sane and Associates

Mivan Technology

One of the key features of the Megapolis project is the use of the Mivan technology. The Mivan System is a patented technology from Malaysia and has started to become popular in India in the recent times.

Unlike the traditional construction system that uses columns and beams, in the Mivan system walls and slabs are cast in one operation onsite by the use of light weight pre-engineered aluminium forms.

Aluminium when alloyed with other materials proves to be tough enough to be used for formwork. Not only does this save on the labour costs but also saves time.

“With this technology, we get uniform construction, smooth finishes and no cracks. There is no brickwork involved and is quite fast. The conventional construction technology requires 28-30 days for one slab whereas with Mivan technology, it can be done in 10-12 days. Moreover, the structure is much stronger and dimensionally accurate,” said Hemant Kulkarni, GM (Marketing), Pegasus.

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