Skip to main content

Gujarat's GIFT project falters: Airport authority's 5-year NOC to 35 towers "expires", only two built

The "proposed" GIFT smart city
By Our Representative
A fresh document, obtained by a Gujarat-based right to information (RTI) activist, Roshan Shah on October 8, has revealed how very slow is the progress in implementing the pet "smart city" project floated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s when he was Gujarat chief minister – Gujarat International Finance Tec-city (GIFT). Envisaged in 2007, there are just two towers in the GIFT premises, one of which has partially started functioning.
The document reveals that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had granted no-objection certificate (NOC) to GIFT’s 35 towers for five years as on May 21, 2010. While the five-year period has expired, the AAI reply suggests, so far it has not received any fresh applications for renewing NOC of building heights on behalf of GIFT.
The May 21, 2010 NOC, granted to 35 buildings, each of them having the “permissible top elevation” of anywhere between 175.6 metres and 191 metres above mean sea level (MAMSL), had said that the “certificate is valid for a period of five years from the date of issue”, and if “the building structure/chimney is not constructed and completed” in the five years, “it will be required to obtain fresh NOC from chairman, AAI.”
The distance between the Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport and the GIFT city is 18.5 kilmetres on a straight road, one reason why NOC needed to be taken. Now being tom-tommed as a smart city, off Gandhinagar, of the 35 towers for which NOC was obtained, just two have so far come up.
An earlier RTI plea by Shah, seeking to know as to which MNCs have so far booked space in GIFT City, how much of square feet of space had been  booked, how much token amount for booking of the space had been paid, and when would the MNCs start their operations, was summarily rejected.
Dated July 16, 2015, the rejection letter said, the GIFT SEZ Ltd is "duly incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956", and is therefore "not a public authority" under the provisions of the RTI Act, and therefore provisions of the RTI are "not applicable to GIFT SEZ Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the GIFT Company Ltd. 
A document of the Gujarat government, which is a partner in the GIFT project alongside Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), says that there will be two “landmark buildings” in the GIFT premises with a height above 350 metres, 19 buildings with a height between 150 metres and to 300 metres, and 73 buildings with a height between 100 metres and 140 metres.
A GIFT document claiming itself as the best international destination
While critics have long doubted viability of GIFT, with founder of India’s telecom revolution Sam Pitroda predicting that it might turn out to be “real estate haven”, a top GIFT document claims that, in terms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the project is more viable than those already implemented in New York, London, Shanghai, Paris, Singapore and Tokyo.
Those who have been to GIFT to have an overview have noticed that there are “scarcely 20 cars in the car park”, and the “the busiest floor in Tower 1 turned out to be exactly like large offices in Mumbai or New Delhi on a public holiday, i.e. employees were few and far between”, and “tenants include Bank of Baroda, Syndicate Bank and ncode, which offers data services security.”
One of the “advantages” being cited for GIFT is not only its “plush architectural model of a smart city”, but visitors notice that GIFT has “no restaurants”, and “in a state where alcohol cannot be consumed without a medical or a special tourist permit, no bars.”
“What it offers is low rents”, it is pointed out, adding, “But, as Sebastian Morris, a professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad points out, ‘Financial services can afford very high rents.’ Indeed, New York, London and Hong Kong have among the highest office rents in the world, but that does not deter them from being the premier financial centres they are.”
Meanwhile, reports say that GIFT, whose just-completed second tower was to be the pioneer of making India to become a “global” reinsurance hub, might not be offered any tax incentives to the insurers and reinsurers setting up offices in the area. Already, large companies such as General Insurance Corporation of India, have presence at GIFT City. Some private insurers have also expressed interest to set up offices there.
“We have been told separate tax incentives will not be provided for setting up offices in GIFT City. This could be a dampener for many Indian insurers and foreign reinsurers to set up presence here,” said a senior industries department official has been quoted as saying.

Comments

EdwardLoftis said…
Good post...

TRENDING

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."