Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Mar 01, 2005

Port Info

Group Sites

Home Page - Budget
Industry & Economy - Infrastructure

Mumbai set for makeover, to become financial hub

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Feb. 28

PROPONENTS of Mumbai makeover plans, who have been debating whether the city should fashion itself after Shanghai or Hong Kong, finally have reason to smile. The Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, was not exactly the toast of the town after his recent remarks on the State being ineligible for special World Bank loans.

However, the Finance Minister's reference to the Rs 5,500-crore National Urban Renewal Mission (NURM) with a Rs 1,650-crore grant component, has warmed the hearts of Mumbaikars, especially since three of the four of the projects he mentioned under the fund were Mumbai-specific. True, it will eventually cover the seven mega-cities, but as of now Mumbai has scored with three out of four projects.

The projects mentioned included the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link connecting Sewri and Nhava, the Mumbai Metro Rail Project, the Western Expressway Sea Link (the Bandra-Worli link and the Worli-Nariman Point link), other than the Bangalore Metro Rail Project. There was also the grand plan of making Mumbai a financial nerve centre as it fell midway between London and Tokyo.

With National Stock Exchange being ranked third and Bombay Stock Exchange fifth in the world by the number of trades per year, it was time to begin work on making Mumbai a regional hub for finance, Mr Chidambaram said. The agenda now is to appoint a high-powered expert committee in consultation with RBI to advise the Government on realising this target.

Mr Ashwini Kakkar, President, Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is also the CEO and MD, Thomas Cook, said, ``We welcome the aid to Mumbai city under the National Urban Renewal Mission. As far as making Mumbai city the financial hub concerned, it has been our long-standing recommendation, which will now be fulfilled.''

However, there are many who believe that infrastructure projects envisaging such huge investments should be tailor made to suit the requirement of the city. According to them, more viable would be a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) as it can carry 25,000, persons per hour. ``MRTS should cost somewhere in the range of Rs 2,400 crore for 300 km at Rs 6-8 crore per km, as against a metro project that is estimated at Rs 19,525 crore for 146.5 km of underground and elevated rails. On the other hand, there is the Skybus of Konkan Railway estimated to cost Rs 7,500 crore for 150 km,'' says Mr Sudhir Badami, urban transport analyst.

Meanwhile, Mr Y.P. Trivedi, Treasure and National Convenor, Economic Affairs Cell of Nationalist Congress Party, said Mumbai should be particularly thankful to the Finance Minster for conceptualising the city as a financial hub, a role it was suited to don. And Mr Arun Mokashi, Chairman, Transport Committee, `Bombay First' said the funds earmarked under NURM was insufficient. What was needed was a dedicated transport fund for Mumbai city, he said.

Article E-Mail :: Comment :: Syndication :: Printer Friendly Page

Stories in this Section
Markets give thumbs up; Sensex zooms

At the heart of a tax on the `fringe'
Hurrah from both MIG and HIG
Tax planning avenues
Corporate tax rate for domestic firms slashed to 30 pc
Mumbai set for makeover, to become financial hub
Stimulus for economy, hopes for the poor
A level playing field for MFs
Service tax net widens — Small players exempt
Gold funds: A new investment avenue
Stake in private banks — Ministry plans to remove 10 pc cap on voting rights

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu Business Line. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu Business Line