In the seventh part of the ‘Know Your Smart City’ web series on the 98 cities that have been shortlisted to be equipped with modern facilities and innovative solutions over time, we look at the three cities in Punjab, and two in Haryana.
The most important historical and tourist destination in Punjab, Amritsar is home to Harmandir Sahib (commonly known as the Golden Temple), the spiritual and cultural centre for the Sikhs. The city also houses the Akal Takht, the highest seat of earthly authority of the Khalsa, and the committee responsible for the upkeep of gurudwaras across India. Amritsar is 217 km northwest of Chandigarh, and close to the Wagah border with Pakistan (28 km away).
The integrated check post at Wagah is the lifeline for exporters in this part of the country — 100-150 trucks laden with cement, gypsum and dry fruits enter India every day via the Attari-Wagah land route, while 200-250 trucks carrying perishables like tomatoes, ginger, garlic, soybean extraction, cotton yarn, etc, cross over to Pakistan.
The city is also historically significant as it was after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre here on July 13, 1919, that Mahatma Gandhi had kicked off the Non-Cooperation movement.
Amritsar, which has also been chosen as one of the heritage cities for the central government’s HRIDAY (Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana) scheme, is famous for its street food and handicraft as well.
An old and important commercial centre of Punjab, Jalandhar is a hub for sports goods manufacturers. It also has a cluster of leather manufacturing units. The industry, though, has lately been hit by increasing global competition.
Located on the Grand Trunk Road, NH 1, Jalandhar, 154 km from Chandigarh, falls in the potato-growing belt of Punjab.
In the past few years, Jalandhar has earned for itself the name of Punjab’s NRI capital, given that a large number of Punjabi immigrants into other countries are from this city. The city has a flourishing retail sector and state-of-the-art eating outlets.
Also, Jalandhar has emerged as a hub for education, with three Universities and fourteen colleges. The city houses Lovely Professional University, the largest private university in India.
An important industrial town of Punjab, Ludhiana has hosiery, cycle, automotive, sewing machine and spinning mill clusters. It is 98 km Northwest of Chandigarh on the NH 1, and is dotted with a large number of small and medium enterprises. It also houses headquarters of some of the corporate houses like Vardhman Group, Nahar Industrial Enterprises, Vallabh Textiles, Garg Acrylics and Trident.
The city, which has a high number of luxury cars, also has the distinction of housing the first medical school for women in Asia (Christian Medical College and Hospital, founded by Dame Edith Mary Brown in 1894).
Ludhiana, despite being an important industrial spot, has missed several investment proposals in the past due to the high land and power costs in Punjab.
The city’s Punjab Agriculture University is considered a lifeline for Punjab’s agriculture — new crop verities developed here have helped farmers across India improve yields and income levels.
An important historical town of Haryana, Karnal was named after the King Karna, who fought the battle of Mahabharta and remained honest to his friend Duryodhana.
It was one of the seven early districts when Haryana was formed in November 1966. Later, other districts like Kurukshetra, Kaithal and Panipat were carved out of it.
It is 127 km from Chandigarh and 120 km from New Delhi on the NH 1.
Because of its strategic location, the city’s real estate market has seen a surge in the past few years; private integrated townships have emerged on both sides of the NH 1, running through the city.
Karnal has a cluster of rice mills and agriculture implements. The Basmati rice grown here is world famous for its length and aroma. The City also has the premier research Institute National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) and Wheat Research Institute. The famous footwear brand Liberty is also based here.
The town of Faridabad was founded in 1607 AD by Shaikh Farid, Mughal king Jahangir’s treasurer, to protect the highway that passed through the town. Shaikh Farid built a fort, a tank and a mosque, ruins of which are still present here.
The Faridabad district came on the map of Haryana on August 15, 1979, as the 12th district of the state. It was carved out from the erstwhile Gurgoan. About 25 km northeast of Delhi, Faridabad has Delhi in its north, Palwal in south, Gurgaon in west and Uttar Pradesh on east. The river Yamuna separates the district on the eastern side with UP. Delhi-Mathura-Agra NH-2 passes through the middle of the district.
With about 15,000 small, medium and large industries in the Faridabad-Ballabhgarh belt providing direct and indirect employment to nearly half a million people, it is the ninth-largest industrial estate in Asia. The combined turnover is estimated to be about Rs 1.5 lakh crore. Many international/multinational companies like JCB, Yamaha Motors, Whirlpool, Goodyear, Larsen & Toubro, Asia Brown Boveri, GKN Invel, Woodward Governor, Castrol besides Escorts, Eicher, Cutler Hammer, Hyderabad Asbestos, Nuchem operate out of this belt.
Faridabad has a well-connected network of roads. All the villages of the district are connected by metalled roads, and have electricity since 1970. Faridabad is connected with other parts through rail, too. The city is also planned to be connected with Delhi Metro in November this year.