executives. In fact, one of the earliest townships to be showcased, OneHub Chennai, appeals to industrial concentrations, like Chennai’s auto industry, and is coming up in a location some 55 km from Chennai. This 1,600-acre park, built by Ascendas and a consortium from Japan, will house more than 60 Japanese companies and their employees once completed.
Developers are clearly sold on the idea. Says Pradeep Jain, chairman of Parsvnath Developers: “Township development as a concept was started to make life comfortable for the residents. Considering factors like lack of public transport, longer travelling time to the workplace and poor urban planning across most states; people are hardly left with time for other things in life. That’s where integrated townships come into play and provide all facilities like schools, medicare, sports complex, community centres, road network, electricity, water supply and management, shopping and entertainment facilities, garbage disposal and security. It simply makes one’s life very comfortable, which is encouraging people to invest in such projects. It also provides more scope for developers.” After OneHub Chennai, another joint venture between Japanese giant Sojitz Corporation and Motherson Group, India’s largest maker of automobile parts, is a 200-acre industrial park in Sriperumbudur near Chennai, which will house both Indian and Japanese companies across sectors like automotive, electronics and food processing. The JV is awaiting clearance from the government for the project since the official stand on such projects still remains something of a grey area.
The official view
What is the official definition of a township? The short answer? There is none. Only the guidelines over foreign direct investment in the real estate sector by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) provided a cursory definition of a township project. Under these guidelines, the minimum area to be developed by a company attracting FDI should be 100 acres for which norms and standards to be followed would go by local laws and bylaws. If such bylaws do not exist, a minimum of 2,000 dwelling units for about 10,000 people will be required to be developed by the investor.
However, the definition also creates a difference between an integrated township and a residential township. Says Sachin Sandhir, MD, RICS, South-Asia: “While an integrated township includes hospitals, schools, offices and large-scale commercial establishments, a residential township primarily comprises residential development with minimal shopping spaces or other social infrastructure.”
Some states such as Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka follow