ICMC this year was held at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, a different location from before and associated with Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH).
Greater Noida itself is one of the new ‘townships’ (as it was described to me) which is aimed at drawing Delhi residents from the city limits to a pleasant suburban location – well, it is halfway to being built. There are numerous large apartment blocks which appear, from the outside at least, to be nearly ready for moving in (a photo of one such follows).
If you have read Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, which is based on nearby Gurgaon (at least in part), then you will have a good idea of what the neighbourhood is supposed to be like. There is a half-finished public school but I did not see any retail outlets or employment opportunities. I imagine that residences will contain maid quarters and there may be small retail outlets at the bottom and behind the apartment blocks just as there was in the similar blocks in Abu Dhabi – although people I spoke to thought this was unlikely to be the case.
In any case, it is difficult to imagine that this would be a vibrant community – it is far enough away from anywhere that private car will be necessary to go to work or shopping or any leisure or civic insitution and no space seems to have been provided to encourage communal living and entertaining.
However, a lot of money is being invested there – just down the road is the F1 circuit and attendant folderol as well as the Export Exhibition Centre. The hotel I stayed in is currently pretty much in the middle of a not-very-picturesque industrial estate, although not far down the road someone is building ‘India’s first five-star tourist destination’ (photo below).
This time next year, then, all of this stuff should be open and we will see how it works. Unfortunately, this year I was unable to get to any shopping centres or department stores or, indeed, much else at all. Never mind, eh.
As for those people who used to live in this part of Noida before it was reinvented as Greater Noida, I noticed in the local paper that protests were being mounted by farmers (this is considered to be very good agricultural land) about their being moved off the land, although I did receive other reports suggesting that those involved had been in fact well compensated for their land but had spent all their money – spent their money foolishly was the implication.
If I learn more about the situation, I will be sure to let the world know about it.