Published On:October 25 2014
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Dholera: Modi's pet project back on the fast track.
A casual visitor might miss the small sign along the highway pointing in the direction of Dholera. The vast area of wastelands, with tiny strips of private agricultural land and a cluster of mud houses with clay-tiled roofs, can make you believe it is another nondescript area in India’s hinterland. But appearance can be deceptive.
Dholera, 110 km from Ahmedabad and comprising 22 villages in the flat alluvial wheat basket of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, is earmarked to be a poster child for the new government’s development agenda.
At 920 sq km, the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) would be twice the size of Mumbai and is estimated by state government officials to have an annual investment potential of Rs 60,000-70,000 crore. According to its website, a new port, airport, modern highways and rail links will attract automotive, electronics, biotechnology and other industries. It is also supposed to be a smart city and the node in Gujarat for the proposed 1,483-km dedicated freight corridor between Delhi and Mumbai, passing through six states. Being developed by Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation Ltd. (DMICDC), with Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) as the nodal agency, DSIR falls within the limits of the Ahmedabad district.
Until a few months ago, the project, conceived in 2007 when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat, appeared still-born. But not anymore. After a new government took charge at the Centre, things have started moving in terms of necessary clearances.