KOCHI: The National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust (NICDIT) has given its approval for developing the Kochi Global Industrial Finance and Trade (GIFT) City as an Early Bird Project under “Kochi Bangalore Industrial Corridor”, the Kerala government said on Thursday.

The GIFT City will come up in 220 hectares of land in Aluva, a strategic location in the vicinity of Cochin International Airport, a top official said, describing the approval as a “Onam gift” to the people of the state.

The project will put Kochi on the Global map as a destination with state-of-the-art infrastructure. The aim was to bring in investment for development of trunk infrastructure to the tune of Rs 1,600 crore, besides giving a spur to building PPP infrastructure to the tune of Rs 18,000 cr over a period of ten years, a statement said.

This will create over 1.20 lakh direct and 3.6 lakh indirect employment opportunities for people in Kerala and have a great multiplier effect on the state’s economy.

The Global City Project is planned with the Financial/Business Centre as an integral part and growth driver for the City complemented with Knowledgebased industries. It would be providing an integrated ecosystem for development of globally competitive Hi-tech Services and Financial Hub.

“GIFT City is an Onam gift to the people of Kerala. We are planning to complete the land acquisition by February 2021. Master planning agency will start work from early September this year and complete the master plan by February 2021. “Activities like MoEF clearance,Tenders, etc. will start in March 2021 and will be completed by May-June 2021,” Additional Chief Secretary-Industries Alkesh Kumar Sharma, who also heads the Special Projects in Kerala, said.

Master planning activities will be completed in eight months and construction works will start after the selection of agency for construction through a transparent bidding process, he said.

The state government has accorded administrative sanction for establishing and developing GIFT City and sanctioned an Rs 540 Crore for acquisition of land which will be its share in the project, Sharma said.

The central government through the NICDIT will provide an equal amount as its share and grant additional funds if required for completing the infrastructure works as a soft loan to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to be set up for it.

Besides, the Centre will help in the marketing of the project nationally and internationally to potential investors and if required will mobilise financial resources from the private sector, market, bilateral and multilateral agencies on behalf of the SPV for the project, the statement said.

Kochi has been chosen for its being commercial capital of Kerala and a hub of major trade, manufacturing and industrial activities with excellent Multi-modal connectivity among other factors, it added.

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