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Highways, uninterrupted power help Gujarat grow

Touted as “Asia’s biggest investment infrastructure opportunity centre”, Gujarat is the first state to have a law governing Build Own and Transfer (BOT) transactions.

Rajit Sengupta  NEW DELHI | 29th Jul 2012

The cargo port at Dahej in Gujarat. REUTERS

f Gujarat is witnessing rapid industrial growth along with flourishing agriculture, it is all thanks to its robust infrastructure. Travel across the state and you will see an extensive network — more than 1 lakh km — of broad roads, not just in urban but even in rural areas as 17,763 of the total 18,065 villages are connected with concrete roads.

This rural connectivity of 98.53% is the best in India and translates into fast-track growth.

The World Bank had applauded Gujarat's impressive highway network and suggested that it be replicated in other states. In a report titled "Good Governance in Highway Sector: Learning from Gujarat", the World Bank said the state's highway sector had created an "enabling framework" for "efficient governance".

It also applauded the state for having faced no contract disputes in the Gujarat State Highway Project — a rarity in India.

Elsewhere in Gujarat, rail connectivity is equally good, power supply is uninterrupted, there's a 2,200 km integrated gas and water distribution grid and wireless internet connectivity in the rural areas.

Gujarat also enjoys the distinction of having the largest IP-based e-governance system in the Asia Pacific called the GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network), and boasts of India's highest teledensity, highest number of operational ISPs, the longest optical fibre cable network and the country's first four-lane highway.

Its network of airports — 16, including one international — is one of the largest in the country while its coastline of over 1,600 km, the longest in India, is dotted with 41 ports.Image 2nd

Touted as "Asia's biggest investment infrastructure opportunity centre", Gujarat is the first state in India to have a law governing the Build Own and Transfer (BOT) transaction and such other arrangements, along with private participation in infrastructure projects.

The state has also implemented improvement initiatives such as World Bank-funded roads and Pragati Path, Kisan Path and Vikas Path road development programs. Such programs led to substantial improvement in key highway stretches.

Gujarat's Jyoti Gram Yojana provides 24-hour power supply to all its 18,065 villages and the 9,680 suburbs attached to them.

And in 2010-11, Gujarat was able to supply more than 4000 million units of power to other states as well, because of strategic investment in the distribution system under the Jyoti Gram Yojana, which enabled better load management.

The present installed capacity of the state on conventional sources is 1335 MW and an additional 3000 MW capacity was to be commissioned before the end of the 2011-12 financial year. The private sector contributes 31% in the total installed capacity of the state.

The state government has more aces up its sleeve — plans for a knowledge corridor and IT parks in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Surat and Vadodara; six new airstrips; and a rail freight corridor in the western region.

Apart from the government, private players are taking interest in building the state's Vision 2015. J.K. White Cement and the Adani Group, for instance, are developing the Greenfield port at Dholera and the Reliance Group is building a port facility at Sikka.

 
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