London: India is “actively considering” UK’s offer of partnership to build the mega 1000-km corridor between Mumbai and Bangalore. The Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported.
A joint statement issued here after British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne met Indian finance minister P Chidambaram for the sixth round of their annual economic and financial dialogue said India may also co-finance a feasibility study.
According to forecasts, 5.8% of India’s population growth would be in the corridor, contributing 11.8% of the country’s gross domestic product growth by 2020. By 2030, if realized, the project could generate close to half a million jobs, while indirect jobs could bring the total in the region to two million.
The idea was first pitched by Cameron during his recent India visit earlier this year. “With me I’ve got architects, planners and finance experts who can help India develop new cities and districts along the 1,000-km corridor that would link the financial capital of Mumbai with the IT hub of Bangalore,” Cameron said.
In the Bangalore-Mumbai corridor, the industrial areas that would be covered include Vasanth Narasapura (Tumkur), Bharamasagara (Chitradurga), Shimoga, Savanur (Hubli), Haveri, Kushtagi-Gadag, Yelburga (Gadag), Belur (Dharwad), Hukeri (Belgaum), Navanagara (Bagalkot). Tumkur is where a national investment and manufacturing zone (NIMZ) has been planned.
NIMZ would be integrated industrial township spread over 5,000 hectres. The idea to set up the corridor also got official endorsement in Chidambaram’s recent budget speech.
Recently in another strong pitch to India, minister of state at the foreign and commonwealth office ( FCO) Hugo Swire told the press that “the concept has been given birth to and is presently in its infancy” with both parents – India and UK “keen to see it have a good life.”
Calling it a misnomer to call it a corridor that will generate investment projects worth up to $25 billion, Swire told an Indian newspaper, “Other corridors have been built in India by Japan. We are in dialogue on how to get UK to help India build the Mumbai Bangalore corridor. The fate of the corridor will be on whether states want it.
Swire, who was part of Cameron’s largest ever contingent to India earlier this year said “it is a misnomer to call it a corridor. It is actually an entire belt that will have hospitals, schools, shops, malls, accomodation, business sites and energy requirements. UK companies can do a great job in creating this infrastructure.”
Britain is the largest European investor in India, and more than half of Indian businesses in Europe are located in Britain. Trade between India and UK is set to double to around Rs 1.67 trillion by 2015. Cameron’s office said officials on both sides have been working on the Mumbai-Bangalore project since last year and had produced an initial assessment of its scale and potential. The British government would be willing to co-fund a feasibility study, on a match funding basis, with the Indian government costing up to £1 million.