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Mukesh Ambani sets out to change the face of Indian cities, first project already on.


Date: 09-04-2019
Subject: Mukesh Ambani sets out to change the face of Indian cities, first project already on
The new ace up Mukesh Ambani's sleeves may be about to reveal itself. And it could well be the urban infra game changer India was waiting for. 

Reliance IndustriesNSE 0.60 % is tying up the last loose ends in its blueprint for setting up a megacity in the vicinity of Mumbai, a Business Standard story has revealed. 

It is going to be Reliance Group's single biggest "projects within a project" initiative, where every component of a project will be a project in itself, BS quoted an inside source as saying. 

Ambani's megacity will be developed on the lines of Singapore. It will have airport, port and sea link connectivity. Once completed, the city will accommodate over half a million inhabitants and thousands of businesses, the BS story said. 

The project is expected to draw in as much as $75 billion in investments over the next ten years. 

Changing the urban infra game 
Ambani is likely to roll out his new brainchild on a massive, never-before-seen scale. Analysts say it could be a Jio redux — the mega 2016 launch that had all India gasping in wonder in its wake. In terms of affordability and quality of product, Ambani's mega city could match the Jio phenomenon, experts have said. 

By all measures, this new Reliance project is likely to script a new chapter for India, primarily because it could recast the whole urban infrastructure scene. 

Mumbai may be a changed place after this megacity comes, said the story. It will likely lead to reverse migration as property prices in the new city will be lower than in Mumbai, it added quoting a top real estate analyst. 

The most significant aspect of this project is that Reliance will not only develop the project but also will run the administration after the city comes up, says the story. This will be possible due to the 'special planning authority' licence that Reliance has been handed for the landmark project. 

This licence, apart from reducing red tape and transaction time, will enable Ambani to sharply — even dramatically — bring down the costs involved, says the report. 

Project history: The Dhirubhai link 
It was Dhirubhai Ambani, the legendary founder of the Reliance Group, who had first come up with the idea of setting up a world-class city in Navi Mumbai. He had thought of a project on these lines as early as the 80s — a project for linking South Mumbai and Navi Mumbai by road. The plan, had it succeeded, would have decongested Mumbai long back, BS quoted the source as saying. 

Reliance had announced early last month about its leasing of 4,000 acres of land from Navi Mumbai SEZ (NMSEZ) for an initial payment of Rs 2,180 crore to develop an economic hub on a global scale. NMSEZ had been given this land in 2006 to develop a world-class SEZ. 

NMSEZ is promoted by Mukesh Ambani, Jai Corp India, SKIL Infrastructure Ltd and City and Industrial Development Corp (CIDCO). According to a PTI story, CIDCO holds 26 per cent stake in NMSEZ, while the rest is held by Ambani, Jai Corp promoted by Anand Jain and Nikhil Gandhi's SKIL Infrastructure. 

In 2005, Ambani joined forces with Nikhil Gandhi who had been buying land since 2000 with a view to setting up an SEZ on the lines of China's mega SEZs. According to the BS story, the Tata Group was also interested in joining hands with Gandhi but was eventually outwitted by Ambani. 

Then, in 2018, under the Maharashtra Industrial Policy, the state government permitted SEZs to migrate to Integrated Industrial Area and make available the land for industrial units. NMSEZ later applied and received the consent to convert the SEZ into the Integrated Industrial Area (IIA) as per the policy. 

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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