A Rs 40,000-crore exhibition-cum-commercial centre, which includes an air cargo complex, spread over 144 hectares near New Delhi’s IGI Airport in Dwarka Sector 25 & 26 has been held up for over a year, with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) refusing to comply with instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as well as its line ministry, the ministry of urban development.
The complex is proposed to have 2 million square feet of exhibition halls, a 6,000-seat convention centre, commercial office space, an air cargo complex, 3,500 hotel rooms and a multi-purpose arena with a capacity of 18,000.
While the DDA initially wanted to develop the project, it later wanted a share of its equity, which the government decided would instead be executed by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) — a quasi-government entity largely funded by Japan. The DDA wants the land to be transferred at commercial rates while the DMICDC argues this will kill the project. Ironically, despite several high-level meetings and promises by the DDA, the issue has still not been resolved.
DDA vice-chairman D Dipti Vilasa, who is also additional secretary in the urban development ministry, said he could not divulge any details of the deliberations and added: “Whenever it is finalised, we will let you know.” Saurabh Chandra, DMICDC chairman by virtue of being the secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, said: “We are in touch with the urban development ministry on the issue for quite some time now. They have to get back to us on the rate at which the land will be transferred to the state SPV from the DDA. Apart from this, DDA will also have to change the land use before it gets transferred; so, we are waiting for that.” DDA principal commissioner (land) T Srinidhi refused to provide details when contacted.
The Dwarka saga began in November 2010 with talks on starting a detailed techno-economic feasibility study by the DMICDC in consultation with DDA. There was then a discussion on whether the facility should be split into two, with one being developed by the DDA and the other by the DMICDC. Once the DMICDC did the detailed feasibility and engineering designing along with global expert AECOM, the project began to pick up steam and, on February 8, 2012, a decision was taken by the principal secretary in the PMO that the project would be