Gujarat’s showpiece Tec-City to take shape from June

February 15th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

By P.S. Anantharaman
Ahmedabad, Feb 15 (IANS) Work on building the first phase of the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) - that hopes to create a global financial hub in this western Indian state - is expected to start in June, official sources said. Officials here believe that the conferment of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status is the first key step taken to build a central business district that could eventually rival globally recognised financial centres such as Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris and London.

The project, with which Chief Minister Narendra Modi hopes to excel the much talked about international financial hub at Mumbai, is to be built on a sprawling 500-acre, about 40 km from Ahmedabad.

The SEZ will house an international education zone, integrated townships, an entertainment zone, hotels and a convention centre besides an international techno park, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) units, shopping malls, stock exchanges and services units.

With the union government’s clearance, the SEZ would now be developed over 250 acres and a Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) would be constructed on the rest of the land.

The DTA would function as a domestic financial district with a separate technology park, finance and tech services, an export-oriented undertakings park, a domestic market zone and domestic utilities.

The project would have more than 80 million square feet of built-up area in a highly concentrated and vertical form.

The city would function as an integrated city-centre with extensive residential, commercial and public spaces. To be developed along the Sabarmati River, GIFT would have advanced facilities like inner-city light rail transit systems (LRTS), dedicated and guaranteed power and water facilities and central cooling services.

The first phase of the project, covering 25 million square feet, is scheduled to be operational by mid-2010.

In all, GIFT is expected to have a cluster of 17 high-rise commercial buildings, with the tallest being the signature 80-storey, 400-metre Diamond Tower.

The concept of GIFT was born during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit of 2007 and is being planned by East China Architectural Design & Research Institute (ECADI), which is responsible for planning much of Shanghai, and Fairwood Consultants India, one of the country’s largest consulting firms.

Yao Wen Lin, ECADI board chairman, has been quoted as saying that GIFT’s design would excel Shanghai.

Pre-construction activities like road building in the neighbourhood of the project site have started. Already, 15 million square feet of the floor space of this first phase has been secured by a host of national and international companies.

The project is being implemented by the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Co Ltd, a joint venture between the state-run Gujarat Urban Development Co (GUDC) and Infrastructure Lease and Financial Services (IL&FS).

GIFT is expected to change India’s financial skyline creating new benchmarks in investments, exports and job creation.

The multi-service SEZ, which is expected to attract Rs.150 billion ($3.8 billion) in investments, is targeting exports worth $1 billion in the first three years beginning 2010, when the first phase of the project will become operational.

Current projections estimate that exports will double to $2 billion by 2015 and to $3 billion by 2020. A total job creation of one million is estimated by 2020.

As of now, five types of businesses have been contemplated - a global business process outsourcing (BPO) centre, operations hub for domestic financial services providing mid-office and back-office related activities, a global IT hub for financial services, a global research and development centre for emerging sectors like pharmaceuticals and a financial centre for selected product markets.

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