05 January 2015

The Times Of India

Smart cities: Gujarat’s Dholera zone sets pace for the flagship programme in new year

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government is kicking off its ambitious smart cities programme along the Delhi- Mumbai industrial corridor (DMIC) leg that is located in Gujarat.

The tendering process for the Dholera special investment region in Gujarat worth close to Rs 3,000 crore for building trunk infrastructure on the 22.5 square km.

The smart city close to Ahmedabad will cover a route length of 920 km on the corridor, of which 154 km will be developed in the first phase. It will be followed by three others by March. The 2,700-km DMIC was sanctioned in 2007.

Prime Minister Modi has announced 100 smart cities, some of these along industrial corridors, as it seeks to turn India into a global manufacturing hub as part of its Make in India initiative.

"We are set to roll out four smart industrial cities by March, inviting bids from all across the globe. We have held several meetings with various governments and investors from different countries in the past many months including Germany, the UK, US, South Korea, etc," said Talleen Kumar, CEO of DMIC Development Corp.

The government has floated requests for qualification (RFQ) for the 'roads and utilities' project at Dholera on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. After this closes by mid-January, requests for proposal will be invited after approval by the DMIC Trust and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). All investment proposals exceedingRs 1,200 crore require CCEA approval. About 35-40% of projects are trunk infrastructure, for which funds are provided by the DMIC Trust while the rest of the 60-65% projects are being structured under the public-private partnership model.

The other trunk infrastructure schemes for which bids will be sought include a drinking water supply system, and administrative centre along with water and sewage treatment plants.

Tendering is also being finalised for integrated industrial townships in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh and Vikram Udyogpuri in Madhya Pradesh apart from the Shendra-Bidkin Industrial Park in Maharashtra for a rollout in the next two months.

"In Greater Noida, 747 acres have already been transferred to the special purpose vehicle. For the 84 square km Shendra-Bidkin industrial park, we will begin with inviting bids for the Shendra region first," Kumar said.

Of the seven cities being developed in the first phase of the DMIC project, master planning for six is complete.

Japan has invested $4.5 billion in the first stage of DMIC through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). They hold a joint 26% stake in the project. Japan is also working closely with the government for the development of other industrial corridors.

In a bid to facilitate and fast track Japanese investment proposals, the department of industrial policy and promotion has also set up a special management team known as Japan Plus, which comprises officials of both governments.