Maharashtra to develop BKC as smart city

  • Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 07, 2015 19:03 IST

Can Bandra- Kurla Complex be the country’s first international finance centre? The verdict is still out on whether the long-cherished dream of making the country’s financial capital also a global finance centre can be achieved. But, for starters, the state government is looking at setting it up as the first smart city, putting in place the ecosystem required for an international finance centre, on the lines of Singapore or London.

“We are planning a smart city at BKC, complete with Wi-Fi connectivity, CCTV-based surveillance system, electronically monitored parking, solar lights and some special apps that can be used here. To make it more lively, we have planned that all ground floors in the complex will house only retail outlets or restaurants, to make it buzz with activity like Linking Road,’’ said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the government agency that has developed the BKC.

Addressing a key concern raised by several personalities from the corporate sector on traffic congestion at the BKC, Madan said MMRDA has planned better dispersal at entry and exit points.

“Three flyovers have been planned at Kalanagar. There will be a connector from G block to Chunabhatti on the Eastern Expressway, and from Santacruz Chembur Link Road to enter BKC,” he said.

The panellists, who debated on Mumbai as the international finance centre, agreed that the city had a long way to go to get the tag, but all of them also agreed that no other city was as equipped to share this tag as Mumbai.

They suggested partial rupee convertability, competitive taxation, setting up of a ring-fenced centre with off-shore banking units as reforms from the Centre, for Mumbai to enter the space of a global finance centre. From the state, they sought better infrastructure and ease in doing business. “Making an international finance centre in Mumbai is largely in the domain of the Centre. But, the state is putting the ecosystem in place for this,’’ said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“Since Mumbai accounted for 50-60% of market capitalisation, it is best suited to become the global financial hub. There are certain regulatory and taxation issues which need to be addressed and there is no reason to doubt why BKC cannot become the next Canary Wharf,’’ said Union minister of state for finance, Jayant Sinha.

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