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DMRC's economic zone coming up

By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

NEW DELHI NOV. 3 .Even as survey work on the first building of the Special Economic Zone, created by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to promote Information Technology, started today on the eastern side of the Shastri Park Depot here on Grand Trunk Road, the corporation despatched an executive to Bangalore to advertise the project with the help of a model at the IT fair taking place there.

The building contract was awarded to Larsen and Toubro via a tendering process last month and the test piling work is due to start tomorrow. The company would set up eight piling rigs at the site and would be working round-the-clock to meet the December 2004 deadline, said the Adviser (Property Development) of DMRC, R.M. Raina.

The building, he said, would add 30,000 square metre of space for development of IT business in Delhi. While the concept has caught the fancy of the corporates, the DMRC is hopeful that the IT fair in Bangalore would provide the right platform to promote it.

The formal advertising for the project, Mr Raina said, would be taken up in a couple of months and should that lead to around 60 per cent bookings, the DMRC would expedite the construction of two other buildings which are planned on the plot measuring 15 hectares.

The DMRC is also greatly enthused by the fact that the Central Water Commission has granted permission for the project. While initially there was some resistance on account of the property coming up on the Yamuna river-bed, the CWC reviewed its position after the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi intervened, who pleaded DMRC's cause.

As such, the project has now become a reality and has started taking shape. It is expected to attract a number of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies and call centres. Connected through the Metro and located right on G.T. Road, the SEZ would also provide state-of-the-art communication links and all modern facilities. With the ridership of the Metro having gone up substantially since the extension of the Shahdara-Tis Hazari line up to Tri Nagar, the DMRC is aware that with every extension, the number would increase and so would the interest in prospective buyers or lessees of its properties.

To optimise the returns from the IT project, the DMRC may adopt the technique of competitive bidding process. And roping in of a big player at negotiated rates to attract other companies may further precede this. Mr Raina said with the project actually taking off, the DMRC is now concentrating its energies on ensuring its success through proper publicity.

Even in the case of other commercial properties being developed by DMRC, he said, there has been a renewed interest in enterprises due to the rising ridership. While the DMRC earlier found it difficult to ink an agreement with a big name in sweets and namkeens due to differences on the price, it is now getting better offers for the same. So, it hopes, with the Metro expanding its arms, marketing of the projects would only become easier.

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