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Modi's 'GIFT' can rival Mumbai

By Indrani Roy Mitra in Ahmedabad
Last updated on: June 28, 2007 15:36 IST
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Call this Ahmedabad's reply to Mumbai or Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's repartee to his Maharashtrian counterpart Vilasrao Deshmukh's promise of a global financial hub.

Ahmedabad's Tagore Hall, popularly called Town Hall, witnessed inauguration of a plan to develop a financial services city consisting of an international financial city segment, domestic finance city sector, a technology park and an integrated township on Thursday. The project's foundation stone was laid by Modi in Gandhinagar on early Thursday morning marked by a bhoomi puja.

Right after Modi lit the project's inaugural lamp, IL&FS signed several memoranda with principle investors in the projects like Kotak Mahindra (committed to develop 300 acres of land), Chest Core (to design 2 million square foot of space), Punj Lyod (set to design 1 milion square foot of built-up space), and Fairwood Associates (to deal with 1 million square foot area), to name a few.

GIFT enjoys significant locational advantages in being situated near the capital city of Gandhinagar and in being only 12 km away from the international airport of Ahmedabad. Moreover, the flying time from India's commercial capital of Mumbai to Ahmedabad is just an hour.

In this project, worth Rs 3,000 crores (Rs 30 billion), Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited on behalf of the government of Gujarat is partnering with Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited. GUDC and IL&FS are promoting the project in public-private partnership mode through the joint venture company Gujarat Finance City Development Company Limited.

The project, with a built-up area of up to 25 million square foot will consist of offices (to take up 60 per cent of total space), residences (25 per cent of the total area), commercial buildings (11 per cent) and services sector (4 per cent).

The city promises to be equipped with an efficient transportation system besides possessing a fully integrated technology centre. As a financial hub, the city will target international financial services, which include offshore banking units, international financial services firms and back office processing centres.

In the domestic segment, the city plans to work in tandem with financial institutions, capital and commodity market players, investor organisations and associates and regulatory bodies.

The city's technology park hopes to see participation from ITes, BPOs, KPOs as well as educational support service providers.

"This financial hub will make Gujarat a combination of New York and California and will earn for itself the status of 'Chicago of Gujarat'", said Modi while delivering his keynote address at the Tagore Hall.

"This is a GIFT Gujarat wants to share with the rest of India," the chief minister said, adding, "The scheduled time of completion of the project's first phase (2010) appropriately coincides with the Golden Jubilee year of the state of Gujarat. Our state will show to the rest of India a new way of finance and living."

East China Architectural Development Institute (Ecadi) will undertake designing and developing GIFT. Ecadi is famous for developing the Chinese city of Shanghai.

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Indrani Roy Mitra in Ahmedabad

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