In its pursuit of the idea of “smart cities” serving as business destinations, Gujarat has proposed yet another concept city in none other than the diamond capital Surat.
A ‘Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City’ is set to come up on Khajod Road, Surat, in four years with an eye on providing a facilitating business environment to complement its huge diamond cutting and polishing industry.
Spread over 2,000 acres, the proposed project will have a central business district, comprising a diamond bourse, residential, office and complexes, training schools and public and private sector banks. A slew of civic amenities such as “ultra modern” hospitals, sports complexes, five star hotels, convention centres, and education institutions are also on offer.Employment potential
The bourse will be built over 100 acres and is expected to house 10,000 offices of national and international traders. It can give a boost to the diamond industry and increase its annual turnover to Rs. 2 lakh crore. While the Surat Diamond Bourse promises 1.5 lakh new jobs the employment potential of DREAM City has been pegged at 10 lakh jobs. Currently, six lakh workers are employed in the diamond industry.
Citing Gujarat’s efforts in creating smart cities, namely GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) and Dholera special investment region, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said with growing urbanisation, such initiatives in urban development and planning were needed to tackle the pressure on existing cities.
“Already 42 per cent of people in Gujarat live in urban areas. By 2030 this may go up to 60 per cent. Our cities will not be able to handle the pressing demands of urban infrastructure and civic amenities. We need to build smart cities in response to these needs,” Ms. Patel said at the foundation stone-laying function for ‘Dream City’ in Surat on Sunday.
Once completed, the project will provide employment opportunities to lakhs of poor. “State governments are for the common people, not for the crorepatis,” she said, while addressing a gathering of diamond traders.
She also proposed a textile university as part of the project as Surat is also a major textile hub.
Representatives from Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Australia and Canada were present at the event.
With 4,500 cutting and polishing units and an annual turnover of Rs. 90,000 crore, Surat has the world’s largest diamond processing industry.
Diamond city Surat will house Gujarat’s third smart city after GIFT City, near Gandhinagar and Dholera.
Taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concept of building 100 smart cities in the country, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Sunday laid the foundation stone for Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City, to be spread on an area of about 2,000 acres on the outskirts of the city.
The DREAM City will mainly house an international diamond trading hub, Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), to be spread on 579 acres of land. The twin ground-breaking ceremonies of the two projects took place on Sunday at Khajod here.
“Currently, we have about 42 per cent urbanisation in the State. By 2030, the level of urbanisation in the State is projected to be around 60 per cent. Considering the pace of growth, we require cities with advanced town planning,” said Patel at the foundation stone laying ceremony.
Surat, which makes 90 per cent of the world’s diamonds, has a large presence of diamond processors and traders.
The SDB is planned to be constructed on an area of 15 million square feet, at the estimated cost of ₹1,25,000 crore. It will house around 10,000 offices for the diamond traders from India and abroad.
Representatives from diamond mining and trading nations South Africa, Botswana, Lisoto, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Namibia, Russia, Australia and Canada were present at the foundation stone-laying ceremony.
SDB is expected to be operational in the next 3-4 years.
“We wanted to make a hub for diamond trading in Surat, which is safer and more secure,” said Mathurbhai Savani, a Padmashri from the city and leading diamond trader.
Diamond exports from Surat is estimated at ₹1,85,000 crore, while rough diamond and gold imports to Surat is around ₹1,34,000 crore, thereby providing about ₹51,000 crore worth of forex earnings. After the commissioning, SDB will generate additional business worth ₹90,000 crore annually.
International level banking and insurance services, as well as import-export facilities, will be made available at the Diamond Bourse.
The Dream City will have a Central Business District (CBD) that will not only consist of Diamond Bourse but also high rise district area with land mark buildings, office complex, exhibition complex, training schools and private as well as nationalised banks.