Sunday, June 20, 2010

Govt buys Space City dream

Govt buys Space City dream
Bangalore, June 19, DH News Service:

In what is being billed as the country’s largest theme park, an Abu Dhabi-based business group has proposed to develop a Rs 18,400 crore integrated recreation, business and residential township not very far from Bangalore International Airport.

Branded as “Space City,”its promoters promise to provide a Disneyland-like entertainment hub within the integrated township that would be spread over an area of 1,600 acres. The location identified for the project is spread over three villages in Bagepalli taluk of Chikkaballapur district.

Marib Infrastructure India Pvt Ltd (MIIPL), which is the Abu Dhabi-based Marib Group’s Indian arm, successfully sold the project to the B S Yeddurappa Government which just over two weeks ago organised the “Global Investors’ Meet” to attract investments in Karnataka. On Saturday, the government’s high level clearance committee on investments, headed by Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, gave its in-principle approval to the proposal.

Several key questions, however, appeared unaddressed regarding the mega project. MIIPL, which has been specially set up for developing the Space City, has no previous experience of undertaking commercial activities in India, though the holding company is said to have exposure in real estate development in the UAE and Malaysia.

More important, while land acquisition for the project would be one main issue, finding adequate water supply would be equally important as the proposed township is to come up in a dry area with ground water alarmingly depleted.

The promoters are dead serious in early implementation of the project. It hopes to start work on the project by early next year. Sheik Sultan Bin Mohd Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family and one of the main promoters of Marib Group, is expected to arrive in Bangalore by next month-end for project consultations with the chief minister. “The project is to come up in Hosahudiya, Adiganapalli and Narepalli villages of Bagepalli taluk, which is about 70 km from the Bangalore International Airport. If the project is implemented, it is expected to provide employment to 20,000 people,”according to Industries and Commerce Minister Murugesh Nirani.

“We plan to develop an innovative city where there will be recreational, residential and commercial facilities. It will also have a fashion city, a hotel city and a media city. It will be like a new and different Bangalore,” said MIIPL managing director Sanjai Chhaunker.

Pollution-free city

Besides, the entire city has been planned to be pollution-free. “We have plans to have a mono rail and electric cars in the city. Once a person enters the city, he will have to leave behind his personal vehicle and have to travel around either by mono rail or electric cars,” he said. A London-based architecture company is preparing a master plan for the project.

MIIPL hopes to tap tourism potential as the project would come up along the Bangalore-Hyderabad corridor. Sanjai doesn’t foresee much of a problem in land acquisition as, according to him, the area is as such dry and not many people would be displaced.

Water conservation

MIIPL has requested the government to provide eight million litres of water a day for the project. However, due to severe water scarcity in the area, the government has advised it to adopt rain water harvesting and other water conservation methods, said principal secretary to Industries and Commerce department V P Baligar.

Panel clears 69 major proposals

The high-level clearance committee has given approval to 69 major projects in the State entailing an investment of Rs 87,494.19 crore, reports DHNS from Bangalore. Briefing reporters after the committee meeting, Industries and Commerce Minister Murugesh Nirani said that Coca Cola has forwarded a proposal to set up a cool drinks manufacturing unit at Yadgir at an expense of Rs 250 crore.

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