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Published On : Mon, Apr 13th, 2015

MIHAN Fact vs Fiction; Why this will be the state’s first genuine Smart City

DSC06121Nagpur.
Some months ago, I met Atul Thakre, Marketing Manager of MIHAN as he was collecting an award for ‘best infrastructure project’ in Nagpur from Nagpur First. The introductory clip they showed about the progress that MADC, the nodal agency, has achieved in MIHAN was really impressive.”But there is much more that is happening. Come and see sometime” Atul said. I went today, but it was more to check on a lot of things that were supposedly not happening!

Entering the famous W building was in itself a revelation. Well manicured lawns and gardens outside, spacious, opulent spaces inside. Just as you go in there is a restaurant to the right, out of which tempting aroma of food cooking was drifting out since it was close to lunch time. Ahead was a bank of lifts and an open stair well. When I went to the first floor through a very futuristic lift I found a number of offices lined up along two parallel ‘skyways’. One of them was MADC.

“Surprised at what you have seen so far?” Atul asked me.

“MIHAN is all about rumours. No one really knows what is happening here exactly but they all have opinions and rumours that are passed of as reality.” He tells me. Then he recounts the rumours:

  1. MIHAN is a flop project. Nothing is moving.
  2. The project has gone elsewhere. Cities mentioned authoritatively are Chennai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad. the logic for this thought is convoluted and without much basis.
  3. No Gajraj or Boeing project coming up. Cancelled, or moved elsewhere. (Gajraj was never a MIHAN project, it is a Defense, Air force one and is still definitely on the cards. Boeing has a small MRO at the Hyderabad airport but its scope of operations is much less than what Nagpur is going to have).

Then I get the reality check. Which encapsulated, is as follows:

  • Fifteen major companies are already working or near completion. These are companies like TCS, ( which will eventually employ 1500 employees),Hexaware BPS ( has already employed 700)TAL manufacturing solutions, Cenosphere, Lupin Pharma, SmartData, Percept web solutions, Kanav Agronomy, Elbix, Klouddata, Zeon Solutions, Global Logic, Dr. M Hope Software and ADCC infocom.
  • Construction in progress – Air India-Boeing ( 50 acres) Tech Mahindra ( 128 acres) Diet Food international, Meta Tech, Kolland developers, Pravesh Exports and HAAS Corporation.
  • There are projects that are likely to be started soon which include Infosys over 142 acres, Thermolab Group, Becquerel Industries, Marksans Pharma and Indamer Aviation (MRO).
  • MADC will also oversee work of Nagpur Metro. The first line on which work will begin will be linking the city to MIHAN. Nagpur Metro will also have a depot spread over 100 acres of land in MIHAN.
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) to be set up on 200 acres of land in MIHAN.
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences proposed to be set up on 240 acres land here.
  • A power plant of 246 MW is operational to supply power to units in MIHAN.
  • Currently power is billed at less than Rs. 6 per unit.
  • Infrastructure facilities built already are 6, 4 and 3 lane highways built over an area of 1382 Hectares.
  • Telecom system using optic fibre cable
  • 24 hours water availability – both potable and non potable.
  • Container Corporation of India Ltd. (Concor) is constructing the Multi modal logistics park along with rail terminal on 109 acres of land to connect MIHAN with different ports in the country.
  • Besides all the above the SEZ offers all benefits like duty free imports/ exports, lucrative income tax exemptions, external commercial borrowing at very attractive rates of interest, exemptions from Central sales tax, Service tax etc. etc.

The most salient feature of MIHAN that cannot be emphasized enough is that Nagpur is the only city in the country that can offer an SEZ and an industrial area that is connected to an internatianal airport; that is connected to a Railway line having the only “diamond crossing”(E-W. N-S) and having the zero milestone of the country, that is exists in the dead centre.


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Today, politicians of the country and political alliances like UPA and NDA may be bickering over who ‘visualized’ and began work on MIHAN, but the undeniable fact is that the blue print for such a project that would be cargo hub for the country and an important airport both for civilian and army aircrafts was drawn up by the British as far back as 1936. That Nagpur is therefore the country’s oldest aiport was mentioned by Nagpur Today in a feature done some months ago. https://www.nagpurtoday.in/when-will-the-nagpur-airport-be-ready-for-take-off/01201755. Before the plan could be implented World War 2 began in 1939 and after it got over in 1945, India gained independence from the British Raj in 1947 with all the horrors of partition. When the work of nation buidling began in earnest, the ‘cargo hub’ project of Nagpur was consigned to the back burner and almost forgotten. Though it is a fact that for many years Nagpur was at the epicenter of India’s mail and cargo systems. Many senior Nagpurians still remember the four cargo planes from Delhi, Madras, Calcutta and Mumbai ( N, S, E & W) that used to land at Nagpur airport at 12 midnight, exchange cargos and then take off for their respective cities again.

 

Somewhere in all the political turbulence of Nagpur first being capital of Central provinces and Berar, then being capital of the new state of Madhya Pradesh and then being transferred to Maharashtra with the dubious distinction of being any Indian state’s only ‘second capital’ this heart of India lost its pre eminence and importance that had been marked by our foreign rulers but ironically overlooked by our own leaders.

 

Then present leaders like Vilas Muttemwar and Nitin Gadkari came together cutting across party lines to begin designing and implementing MIHAN. Unfortunately when it was poised for take off due to all the hard work and planning of the first MD Mr. Sinha, global depression happened and work came to stand still. Then there were problems in acquiring land, litigations and some scams too by some reckless private players. All these combined to give MIHAN a wrong connotation and bad image.

 

Now that the CM Devendra Fadnavis has made this a priority project for his government and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also giving it all his focus MIHAN will be much more than an SEZ…. it will grow in areas unthought of till now.

 

(For those interested, land is available in SEZ area for 15 million INR per acre ( or Rs. 60 lakhs) and fully furnished space in available for offices in the W buidling where you can just plug in and start work. The rent for plug and play facility is Rs. 35 per sq. feet per month and for warm shell facility at Rs. 33/ per sq feet, per month).

 

Over the past few months nations of the world like USA, UK, Singapore, China, Australia, Germany and France has evinced interest in MIHAN and Nagpur.

 

But they do not want  export oriented business ventures here, they want to set up manufacturing that will cater to Indian markets. They want the ‘coke model’.

 

A class Engineering campuses already exist here. Now  an IIM and AIMS is coming too. With so much international trade and business happening Nagpur will be needing ace lawyers with international exposure.

 

Time for a National Law School too?

 

… Sunita Mudliyar

 

 

 

 

 

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