Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal visited Lavasa near Pune, to get a first hand view of the city's development last week. The visit was part of the plan of the state government to replicate the modern city's development model in Punjab.
Billed as India's first planned hill station since Independence, Lavasa, has been in the eye of the storm for various alleged violations. A team from the Ministry of Environment and Forests charged it with causing environmental damage, but after reviewing the project, clearance was provided. In March last year Gujarat CM Narendra Modi too had visited Lavasa and had drawn flak from environmental groups for the trip.
After the visit however, Badal was all praise for Lavasa's growth. "Lavasa is a classic case of modern urban infrastructure that meets the need of fast urbanizing India," he said. Badal spent a day at Lavasa, where he was taken around different facilities in the yet incomplete city. Planning to create new cities in Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal has been touring the country to study development work in different states and to understand the process of creating new urban habitats. Next on the list are cities like Aamby Valley, also in Maharashtra, Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.
Seeking to project Punjab as a "land of opportunities" Sukhbir has been claiming that the state has the potential to emerge as the next economic hub in South East Asia. At the NRI meet in Chandigarh, Sukhbir said that infrastructure companies including DLF, Shipra, IREO, Emaar MGF, Omaxe, TDI, Ansals, Unitech, Quark, JLPL have invested Rs 30,480 crore in Punjab. Projecting Punjab as the first state in the country that would have all cities linked with four to six lane roads in there years at the cost of Rs. 7,600 crore, Badal said that Punjab is the first state that has approved the master plan of all the cities and said that Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Bathinda were being developed by international developers. He said that Cabinet has approved master plans of 14 major cities and remaining master plans of 133 cities were in pipeline.