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Home » Asian Life » Asian News

India Visit - PM backs 'corridor of development'

Britain could provide up to £1 million for a feasibility study on a proposed 600-mile "corridor of development" linking two of India's booming cities, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

The joint UK-Indian vision to develop cities and towns between Mumbai and Bangalore could generate billions of pounds' worth of new business, creating opportunities for British-based architects, planners and finance providers, said the PM.

Speaking during a visit to Mumbai, Mr Cameron said the ambitious proposal could match British expertise with Indian dynamism as part of the special partnership which his trip is intended to foster.

"I'm really excited about this project," said the PM. "It's an ambitious vision which could truly be a partnership for the next generation. It would unleash India's potential along the 1,000km from Mumbai to Bangalore, transforming lives and putting British businesses in prime position to secure valuable commercial deals. It encapsulates the spirit of this visit - matching British expertise up with the dynamism of India's commercial sector. And it would mark a new chapter in the UK-India economic relationship."

Mr Cameron said the UK was working with the New Delhi government and businesses from both countries to develop the vision of sustainable development along the corridor linking commercial centre Mumbai with new technology capital Bangalore.

An initial assessment drawn up by UK and Indian officials over the past year suggests that the corridor could generate investment projects worth £13 billion-£16 billion, directly creating 500,000 jobs and supporting 1.5 million more. The Government would be willing to co-fund a feasibility study, on a match funding basis with the Indian government up to £1 million.

The plan would initially focus on nine key districts identified by the Indian government as national investment and manufacturing zones. Initial scoping work suggests that accommodating the three to four million people attracted to each of the new cities would require close to one million new homes, up to 120 schools, 10 colleges and hospitals. Forecasts show that 5.8% of India's population growth will be in the corridor, contributing 11.8% of the country's GDP growth by 2020.

The first phase of the project would involve investment in physical infrastructure, such as transport networks, telecommunications and power generation. Later construction would concentrate on social infrastructure in these districts such as welfare and education.

Downing Street believes it would provide "fertile ground" for British businesses with expertise in finance, infrastructure, design, engineering and technology, as well as opportunities for UK companies to collaborate with Indian partners, building on the experience of delivering the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The Prime Minister was discussing the project with Prithiraj Chavan, the chief minister of Maharashtra, which covers large parts of the corridor.

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