Within a week of Narendra Modi taking oath as the Prime Minister, his mega-dream project, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), on Tuesday, announced having achieved financial closure for its Phase I infrastructure development.

Being developed as India’s only International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), GIFT City has been conceptualised as a global financial and IT services hub, designed to be at or above par with globally-benchmarked financial centres like those at Shinjuku (Tokyo), Lujiazui (Shanghai), La Defense (Paris) and London Dockyards.

It will also have a specialised university to offer world-class education and training in financial services. For this, the University of Liverpool, UK, is developing curricula in association with some American universities. “We hope to launch this university in 2015-16,” said an official.

“The estimated cost of core infrastructure development in Phase I is Rs 1,818 crore. A consortium of banks has agreed to provide us a loan of Rs 1,157 crore. The balance Rs 661 crore would come through equity and our internal accruals over the next three years,” Ramakant Jha, Managing Director and Group CEO, GIFT City Company Ltd, told Business Line on Tuesday.

The total infrastructure development cost would be Rs 9,000 crore over the next 10 years. The project’s power requirements will be 750 megawatt, of which 20 per cent will come from a captive power plant.

The debt requirement for developing Phase I infrastructure has been tied up with a consortium of banks led by Syndicate Bank, and including Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab & Sindh Bank and Corporation Bank, with whom an agreement was inked on May 20.

These funds will be utilised to develop road network, district cooling system, automated solid waste management system, utility tunnel, smart ICT, master balancing reservoir, waste and sewerage treatment plant and power distribution.

So far, GIFT City has developed two 29-floor towers with 16 lakh square feet area, of which nearly half has been sold.

State Bank of India is set to construct its own 15-floor tower here where it would shift majority of operations of its Ahmedabad zonal office located in a heritage area next to the Bhadra temple. “We have allotted two lakh sq ft to SBI which will also construct 400 residential apartments,” Jha said.

In all, 6.2 crore sq ft area will be constructed in the city in three phases. Of this, 1.06 crore sq ft of space was allotted to banks, financial institutions, hotels, hospitals, schools and real estate developers.

The project, spread over 886 acres, including a 261-acre SEZ on the outskirts of Gandhinagar, is expected to involve investments of Rs 78,000 crore when completed by 2026. Its scale can be imagined by the fact it will have multi-level parking facilities for 60,000 cars and owners would have to walk just 50 metres to get into their cars. The city is likely to create nearly a million direct and indirect jobs.

(This article was published on June 3, 2014)
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