A key part India’s groundbreaking $100bn Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is expected to start allotting land to anchor investors by September following a promotional tour of Asia and Europe, reports say.
With a grand vision of boosting manufacturing and quadrupling exports from the ancient port of Dholera, Gujarat, the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) could become a centre of high-tech manufacturing, including of electric vehicles.
Dholera is just one node of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, planned to be formed by 24 "smart" cities strung along a high-speed rail line between Delhi in the north and Mumbai in the south-west. The scheme, which has been labelled "the world’s largest infrastructure project" is being overseen by the DMIC Development Corporation.
According to India’s Business Standard, Alkesh Kumar Sharma, the chief executive officer of the DMIC Development Corporation, visited the Dholera project site on Friday (13 May) and told reporters that the zone would be ready to begin placing anchor investors by September 2016.
"The aim of the DMICDC is to ensure world-class construction to attract world-class investors and to create a world-class city," he said.
The $12bn Dholera project is one of eight industrial regions planned in the first phase of the scheme.
The aim of the DMICDC is to ensure world-class construction to attract world-class investors and to create a world-class city– Alkesh Kumar Sharma, DMIC CEO
The aim is, within five years, to turn the ancient port city into a high-tech manufacturing centre, complete with 10-lane motorway to connect it to the regional capital of Ahmedabad. The targets include doubling the number of jobs, tripling industrial output and quadrupling exports.
In early 2013 the US-based consultancy giant Aecom was awarded a $30m contract to programme manage the infrastructure side of consolidating 22 villages into one industrial zone.
The land will be allocated in a 23 square kilometre "activation area". This, it is hoped, will be the catalyst for the wider project, which covers an area of about 920 square kilometres.
The corporation has started scouting for foreign partners to help realise these goals. It has held talks with consultants in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany and Sweden and intends to issue a request for quotations in June to select partners for specific projects.
In Sweden, Sharma visited the Volvo Experience Centre at Gothenburg, where he told India’s Financial Express website that there were opportunities to develop electric vehicles in the eight smart cities, and that generating hybrid energy with a mix of solar, biogas, wind and tidal was also a possibility.
Ajay Bhadoo, the chief executive of the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board, the state body overseeing the scheme, said a land allotment policy for Dholera SIR would be finalised shortly.
According to The Wire, land pooling at Dholera is facing some local opposition.
Image: Artist’s render of a transport hub at Dholera SIR, intended as a high-tech manufacturing centre (Dholera SIR)