Gujarat plans a mini Japan

The location couldn’t have been better, with an international airport on one side and a sea-port on the other. The Gujarat government has closed in on 100 sq km of land between Federa and Dholera for the proposed ‘Mini-Japan’ township.The location, approximately 90 km south of Ahmedabad, is said to be ideal because it falls between Federa, the site for a new international airport, and Dholera, where the Adani group plans to build a port and SEZ. The location has been identified and will be shown to top Japanese corporate houses, which have already evinced interest in setting up a ‘Mini-Japan’ township along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) in Gujarat.The land falls along the Ahmedabad-Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) proposed by Gujarat along the DMIC, which is being funded by Japanese government. Within a week, this is the second big news for Gujarat, and Ahmedabad in particular, after Tatas announced on October 7 that they were parking Nano plant near Sanand. Officials said this was the “best possible location” out of three options — one between Mehsana and Palanpur and the other between Bharuch and Dahej — that were considered. Gujarat expects many Japanese auto giants to set up shop in the township which will virtually turn Gujarat into the biggest auto hub in the country, taking advantage of ports to export small cars to western markets. The process was started in April 2007 when a huge business delegation from Gujarat led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan. The Japanese External Trade Organisation responded with a visit to Gujarat earlier this year. Now, the issue is likely to be clinched when a delegation, led by Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation managing director Maheshwar Sahu, visits Japan in mid-November. Talks with auto giants like Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Suzuki have been lined up. Since the location chosen for ‘Mini-Japan’ is water-logged during the monsoon, Gujarat Disaster Management Authority has been asked to commission a study on how to prepare a drainage plan for the SIR.

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