In the east side, Noida carved a niche for itself

Noida or the New Okhla Industrial Development Area came into being as an industrial township during Emergency in 1976 to cater to Delhi's commercial needs and to address the Capital's concern of polluting industries.

The first master plan of Delhi, prepared in 1962, suggested a planned decentralisation of large-scale economic activities from Delhi and development of towns around it.

So, on April 17, 1976 the Uttar Pradesh government notified 36 villages of the Yamuna-Hindon-Delhi Border Regulated Area as New Okhla Industrial Development Area.

The state government also constituted a new statutory body, namely, the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (NOIDA) to ensure planned development of the area for industrial and allied uses.

This township, on the Capital's eastern edge, has since transformed into one of India's best-planned modern cities.

Today, manufacturing clusters make up only a fraction of the city's 203-sq km landscape. The 1980s and early 1990s saw an influx of retirees and small businesses. Later on, residents of Rajouri Garden, South Extension, Tilak Nagar and Pahar Ganj sold off their expensive property and relocated to Noida.

In the last 15 years, the city has turned into a most favoured destination for the upwardly-mobile middle class as well as global companies. Initially, land rate in Noida was as cheap as R120 psqm. The name New Okhla made it look like an extension of Delhi. Despite being a part of UP, Noida sought its own identity to woo investors. Unlike any other area in the NCR, Noida got its own DTC depot.

First, industrial sectors - from 1 to 11 - were developed. Then came the residential ones: 19, 20, 26, 27, 12, 14 and 15. Noida Authority constructed MIG, LIG and, later on, HIG accommodations.

Mahendra Bhadari, who migrated from Jaipur, got an MIG apartment in sector 20 for R60,000. Today its cost has gone up to R60 lakh.

"The history of development of present-day Noida town can be traced to 1972, when the UP government, taking note of the mounting pressure of speculative land deals in this area located close to Delhi, declared 50 villages of the erstwhile district of Bulendshahar as the Yamuna-Hindon-Delhi Border Regulated area. There was no urban centre in this area," said Rajpal Kaushik, the authority's senior town planner.


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