Whether the nation is gripped with Narendra Modi wave is still debatable, but NDA Prime Ministerial candidate has been able to make development agenda as major poll plank and also has been able to force his opponents to talk about development than populism in this general election. Indeed, that in itself is a great achievement and one hopes that this election will set a good precedent for the future generation to follow. As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi has initiated and also has executed many projects (started by his predecessors) and has proved his mettle as a successful project manager. Here are five projects which we consider as his pet projects:
Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (Gift City)
The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, is India’s first global financial hub project. GIFT City is being developed as a globally-benchmarked international financial service centre by Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Ltd (GIFTCL), a joint venture of Gujarat Urban Development Company Ltd, a Government of Gujarat undertaking, and IL&FS Ltd. The project will be developed in three phases of around four years each. It is estimated to cost Rs.78,000 crore out of which Rs.10,000 crore would be provided by GIFTCL for infrastructure development.
The GIFT City project was first envisaged in 2007 during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit. However, work on the project started after June 2011 when the state government transferred 673 acres to the company. GIFT City is being developed on 886 acres of land.
A substantial portion of phase-I of the project has been completed—two commercial towers, each 29 stories high. Narendra Modi dedicated the towers in January 2013. Out of the total built-up area of around 13 million sq. ft in phase-I, 8.4 million sq. ft has been allotted to companies. GIFTCL recently invited RfP for the development of commercial and residential buildings in GIFT-SEZ and non-SEZ areas.
Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Metro Rail Project
The Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro rail project is being promoted by the Gujarat government through an SPV called Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar & Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Ltd. MEGA has proposed to build a metro rail network for Ahmedabad city with a route length of about 36 km comprising 32 stations. The routes would have two corridors—East-West corridor from Thaltej to Vastral Gam with one maintenance depot at New Cotton Mill premises and North-South corridor from APMC to Motera with maintenance depot at Vasna area.
The MEGA board has approved a fresh detailed project report, which has been prepared by DMRC and has been forwarded to the Centre for further approval. The total project cost has been revised to Rs.10,000 crore, down from the previous Rs.19,000 crore. The project is expected to be operational in 2018, for which construction work is expected to begin by the end of 2014.
MEGA has invited tenders for consultants for both the corridors.
Statue of Unity Project
This is a project implemented mainly to further Modi’s political agenda than to achieve any economic objective. An iconic 182m statue that is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, is to be built at Sadhu-Bet Island, approximately 3.5 km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in Narmada district of Gujarat. The statue, spread over 19,700 sq. m of project area, would be surrounded by an enormous manmade lake spread across 12 km.
This memorial site with a number of edutainment components lies between the Satpuda and Vindhyachal ranges and will be enhanced by a picturesque backdrop. The total project cost is estimated at Rs.2,063 crore. The project would be completed in four years.
A separate society named Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust has been formed under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister to ensure seamless execution of the entire project. The trust has appointed a consortium comprising Turner Project Management India Pvt. Ltd as lead member, Meinhardt India Pvt. Ltd and Michael Graves & Associates, Inc. to provide design, engineering, project management and construction management services for the Statue of Unity project.
Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which has built the world’s third largest dam and irrigation system, would implement the project.
The project management consultant has prepared the EPC tender document for work of design, engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the Statue of Unity project. Technical bids were opened on January 31, 2014, and financial bids would be opened soon.
Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project
The Sabarmati Riverfront project is an environmental improvement, social upliftment and urban rejuvenation project that aims to promote tourism and preserve the Sabarmati river. In 1997, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation set up a wholly owned SPV called Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd to explore the project.
The project will reclaim the private river edge as a public asset. It is an attempt to revitalise the river and its banks as urban space. Interceptor sewers and sewage diversion network have been built along both banks of the river to divert sewage to existing sewage treatment plants, beyond the project area instead of letting it flow into the river. The embankments on either side of the river have been designed to provide wide walkways with access steps, ramps and ghats for pedestrians move around close to the water body.
Under this project, the state government has also planned to develop various access roads to the riverfront to improve public access. The project includes facilities for boat rides along the river between Gandhi Bridge and Vasna Barrage on west bank, an urban park on the opposite bank of Sabarmati Ashram and from Subhash Bridge to Rishi Dadhichi Bridge on east bank and also near the ancient holy place called Narayan Ghat.
The garden, which was opened on October 16, 2013, has attractions like sun dial, promenade, different shape mounds, amphitheatre, children’s play area, step well, 19 shopping plazas, seven food courts etc.
SRFDCL has spent over Rs.1,200 crore as capital expenses on the project which has been planned as a self-financing project. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is planning to raise the project cost by way of selling or leasing of commercial properties as the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority is laying out new development plans for the city.
Sardar Sarovar Dam Project
Sardar Sarovar Dam project is a project inherited by Modi from his predecessors and executed by him to irrigate drought prone areas of Kutch and Saurashtra. Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on Narmada river near Navagam in Gujarat. It is the largest dam and a part of the Narmada Valley project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multipurpose dams on the Narmada. The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydropower.
The Narmada valley project was mired in controversy from its inception. In 1965, the Khosla committee planned a 530 ft high dam in Navagam (the site of the Sardar Sarovar dam today) while allocating 13.9 MAF (million acre ft) of water to Madhya Pradesh and 10.6 MAF to Gujarat. This proposal was immediately locked in a dispute between the so-called riparian states i.e. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh over the sharing of the costs and benefits of the project.
Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, a wholly owned Government of Gujarat undertaking, has been formed to implement the project. Sardar Sarovar Dam is one of 30 dams planned on river Narmada and is the largest structure to be built. The dam would be 163m tall and 1,210m long when it is fully complete.
The Sardar Sarovar Project is one of the largest water resources projects of India covering four major states—Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The dam’s spillway discharging capacity of 85,000 cumec would be third highest in the world. With 1,133 cumecs capacity at the head regulator, and 532 km length, the Narmada Main Canal would be the largest irrigation canal in the world.