Gujarat banks on mega projects to lure global investors

June 24th, 2008 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS  

By P.S. Anantharaman
Ahmedabad, June 24 (IANS): At the Vibrant Gujarat global investors summit in January next year, the Gujarat government’s accent will be on marketing the $90-billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and the $6-billion Gujarat International Finance Tech-City (GIFT) projects. Officials told IANS Tuesday that besides these two mega projects, the state government will also focus on attracting investments in identified sunrise sectors such as biotechnology and nanotechnology.

The DMIC project, planned on the lines of the famous Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor, covers Delhi and the National Capital Region around it, as well as the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

But the maximum area of the project passes through Gujarat - about 40 percent.

The officials said thanks to the DMIC project, Gujarat could have a dedicated petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals hub in the Bharuch-Dahej area, in addition to another in the Ahmedabad-Dholera stretch.

Besides, it could also build four industrial regions along the corridor.

The DMIC and the special economic zones that have been proposed along the corridor will cover 18 districts and an estimated 75 percent of the population. Gujarat hopes to attract an investment of Rs.2000 billion, estimated to generate 800,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The four industrial regions proposed are the Palanpur-Siddhpur-Mehsana sector in north Gujarat, the Vadodara-Bharuch stretch in central Gujarat, and the Surat-Navsari and Valsad-Umargaon zones in south Gujarat.

Dairy farming, textile mills, salt, ginning and value-added agri product sectors would benefit in north Gujarat, while in central Gujarat, it would be auto components, automobiles, electronics, chemicals, cement and pharmaceuticals.

In south Gujarat, the biotech, ceramic and engineering sectors would reap benefits.

The GIFT on the other hand, according to project chief executive officer D.S. Anjaria, could emerge as the world’s largest international finance centre, sprawled over 500 acres on the banks of the Sabarmati river near Gandhinagar.

The first phase of the project is planned to be operational by 2010, and Anjaria said memoranda of understanding (MoU) have already been signed with realtors to develop 90 million square metres, against the planned 75 million square metres.

“We are planning to develop the project at one time, instead of in phases,” he said. A 100-storey skyscraper - the tallest in India - surrounded by model townships, techno-parks, financial districts, and export-oriented unit parks would be developed.

The special economic zone (SEZ) proposed within the GIFT will have a financial centre, techno -parks, software parks, market zones, money exchanges, service units and education zones.

Anjaria said five Indian banks have already confirmed their location at GIFT, while two foreign banks have shown interest. “Stock markets and commodities markets are expected to come up in the SEZ,” he added.

Anjaria, who is a former chief secretary of Gujarat, said the Vibrant Gujarat summit is the “ripe time to market the project and clinch deals as we will have done much spadework on the project by that time.”

At the 2007 edition of the summit, the state attracted investment proposals worth Rs.4,628.35 billion.

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