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DMIC poised to invite its first anchor investors in August

Mumbai: The pioneering greenfield industrial cities proposed to be developed under the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project will begin finalising the first anchor investors in August this year.

One of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects with an estimated investment of USD 90 billion, the DMIC is a planned and hi-tech industrial zone spread across seven states along a 1,500 km long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor which serves as its backbone; and includes 24 industrial regions, eight smart cities, two airports, five power projects, two Mass Rapid Transit Systems and two logistical hubs.

The DMIC and four other proposed industrial corridors that will cover and connect large areas along the length and breadth of the country are among the star attractions for investors at the ongoing Make in India week in Mumbai.

With the first phase of the DMIC project, which envisions development of eight of the industrial nodes, on track, the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) is gearing up to invite the anchor investors for the project in August to coincide with the country celebrating its 70th Independence Day.

At a key seminar organised as part of the Make in India week to discuss the potential of industrial corridors as the future economic growth engines, DMICDC CEO and Managing Director Alkesh Sharma said the project aims to develop sustainable global cities with world-class infrastructure, to manage rapid urbanization and create large scale employment opportunities in these cities.

Other proposed industrial zones include the Bangalore Mumbai Economic Corridor; the extensive Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC); the Chennai Vizag Industrial Corridor and the Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC).

Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said India needs to target at least 9-10 percent growth per annum for the next three decades if the country is to raise the last segment of its population out of poverty. “The key to this growth strategy is creation of world-class infrastructure,” he said.

He noted that it was for the first time in the world that geographical and ICT planning had been integrated in building completely new cities. “These smart industrial nodes will be a model for the rest of the world in urban planning. They will have around 12 layers of trunk infrastructure below the ground and everything above it will be integrated using smart, digital technology.”

From a manufacturing perspective, the most important contribution of the industrial corridor, especially the dedicated freight corridor which forms the backbone of the DMIC is the reduction in logistical costs, he said.

“Today it takes around 14 days to move goods arriving at the JN Port in Mumbai to their destinations in northern India. With the freight corridor, which is expected to be operational by 2018, the time will be reduced to just 14 hours. This significant shaving off of logistical costs combined with better turnaround times will make Indian goods extremely competitive in the global markets,” he said.

The eight investment regions proposed to be developed in Phase I of DMIC are: Dadri – Noida – Ghaziabad Investment Region in UP; the Manesar – Bawal Investment Region in Haryana; the Khushkhera – Bhiwadi – Neemrana Investment Region and the Jodhpur Pali Marwar Industrial Area in Rajasthan; the Pithampur – Dhar – Mhow Investment Region in Madhya Pradesh; Ahmedabad – Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) in Gujarat; and the Shendra – Bidkin Industrial Park and Dighi Port Industrial Area in Maharashtra.

The Ahmedabad-Dholera SIR is the biggest of these with a total area of 920 sq kms, with a target residential population of two million and employment for 800,000 people by 2040.

A Special Purpose Vehicle has already been constituted for Dholera and trunk infrastructure construction activities have begun in an activation area of 22.54 sq km.

“New industrial cities are important to manage urbanization.In the next five decades, India will see more urbanization than it has seen in the last 5,000 years. But this urbanization has to be done in an innovative and sustainable manner. The idea is to drive growth with good quality infrastructure,” said Kant.

Other speakers at the seminar included Anthony De Sa, Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary; Ajay Shankar, Chairman, Expert Committee on Regulatory Approvals, DIPP; Ravi Kanth Medithi, Chairman and Managing Director, HUDCO; Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary (Industries), Government of Maharashtra; Kalpana Awasthi, Joint Secretary, DIPP; Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA- India, M Teresa Kho, Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI.

Representatives of state governments made presentations on the perspective and opportunities of the DMIC for the states covered under the project and other stakeholders discussed how to leverage technology and best global practices for building new industrial smart cities. (ANI)