Dr. Bimal Patel is an architect from Gujarat with over 35 years of experience in this profession. He is into research and has teaching experience in different architectural colleges. He followed his father’s footsteps and worked with him after he graduated. One of his 1st projects was a campus for the entrepreneurship development institute. Also, has his firm in Ahmedabad founded by Dr. Patel named the HCP design, planning, and management. Also founded an environmental planning collaborative, a not-for-profit, planning research, and advocacy organization. He was awarded the Padma Shri award in 2019 for all the excellent work and is the president of the CEPT University in Ahmedabad since 2012.
One of his signature projects is the Sabarmati riverfront development
The city of Ahmedabad is defined by the banks of river Sabarmati. The land is about 200 hectares. It is one of the true cities across the world and this river became Ahmedabad’s lifeline for centuries, as this was the only source of water but also provided with informal recreational space for the city. As time passed, the river was polluted by the flow of unrestricted waste from the industrial and domestic. This made it so difficult for the people living around the river. The Sabarmati riverfront development project has been under implementation since 1996, retaining walls provided on either side that are rigid which is used to support the soil laterally. Sabarmati is always been very important to the people in Ahmedabad as it was not just a source for drinking water but also a place for recreation, a place to gather, a place for the poor to build their homes, places for the Dhobis to earn an income, and a place to hold the traditional market. The concept and method proposed were to generate revenue, to prevent erosion of the river banks, and to reduce the burden on the government. This project doesn’t just help with the protection from flooding but also with the reclamation of land. Since the Sabarmati river is seasonal, water is channeled into the river from the Narmada canal, this intersects the river. More than 80 percent of the land is used for all the free and public spaces. This area has a nice walkway and is the central part which connects to the various parts of the city. The place has a lot of lush greens which attracts people and this now becomes a space for people to have a nice evening walk. The Sabarmati riverfront development projects also boost on the social and traditional activities where the areas around this riverfront have been equally segregated.
A well-organized Dhobi Ghats facilities for all the washermen incorporating about 168 formal washing spaces, state of art laundry campus and unique of its kind in the country, and a riverfront Sunday flea market which accommodates about 1600 local vendors along with a parking space which could accommodate 1942 two-wheelers and 428 car parking. They have provided a diaphragm wall which helps in aligning the smooth profile of the waterway and for the protection to retain earth and anchor slab used to anchor the diaphragm wall with RCC key to provide a walkway in the proximity of the waterbody. They have provided the existing bridges with pier protection which prevents the structure from being hit. They worked on the sewerage network to stop the flow of the sewage and keep the river clean. To prevent the untreated sewage flowing into the river, two sewage interceptor lines with the new pumping stations have been constructed along with the reclaimed spaces at the banks. Also made sure that the people working along for the projects have been relocated to “pucca” (The term pucca means solid and permanent) this is a solid structure made of brick, stone, concrete, or timber which are dwellings designed permanently. Diversion of sewage to the east and the west bank. The place was improved, environmental interceptor sewer system ensuring clean water in the river, retention of water in the river almost for a whole year. They also recharge the groundwater aquifers of the city. Plantation of about more than 20,000 trees and development of garden and parks and other green areas. They also celebrate the kite festival and various other gatherings like cyclotrons, marathons, Navaratri festivals, and more. The city and the river with time have developed. All the illegal housing in the flood-prone areas has now been shifted to formal housing under the direct supervision of the high court of Gujarat. This project is self-financial and cost-effective; they have tried and made this as sustainable as possible. They also worked on the rehabilitation of the slums wherein more than 1000 families residing in the riverbed/ affected by the project. They are now safe from the flood-prone areas and have a better life which improves the social and economic well-being of them. The development of this project will improve the efficiency of infrastructure and the quality of life in Ahmedabad.