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Soumik Kar
Maximum City
Gujarat is set to give the world an international financial hub, with the GIFT city coming up on the outskirts of Gandhinagar

After years of neglect, the Sabarmati river bank is suddenly at the centre of attention in Vibrant Gujarat. Apart from the world-class riverfront project that culminated recently, there is a global financial centre — envisaged by former Gujarat CM Narendra Modi — coming up by the shores of the river. Known as the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), this financial hub, conceptualised in 2007, is a joint venture between the Gujarat Urban Development Company and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services. The project is spread over 886 acres and will have a SEZ spread over 261 acres, within which an international finance centre (IFC) will also be set up. Located 12 km from the Ahmedabad International Airport and 8 km from Gandhinagar, work on the first phase, which began in 2011, is expected to be complete by December 2016. This phase was allotted a budget of Rs 1,818 crore and has seen two 30-storey towers come up so far. The second phase, budgeted at Rs 7,696 crore, will be launched soon and will see 22 million sq ft of land being developed. The towers in the GIFT city are set to feature district-cooling technology instead of air-conditioning and the waste generated from homes will be sucked out and fed directly into a waste processing plant. While the grand idea is to wean away some business from other international finance hubs such as Singapore, its success largely hinges on whether the regulators are able to frame business friendly regulations for the city and whether domestic and international financial institutions indeed see a business case in PM Modi’s maiden project.

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