Top international consultants Mott MacDonald has identified Aliabet, surrounded by water from three sides and situated in the mouth of Narmada river in the Bay ofKhambhat, as an ideal location for a special investment region (SIR) for two sectors -entertainment and aquaculture.
In a recent report submitted to the state industries department, it has reconunended setting up of a resort, a golf course, a fihn city, an amusement park and an integrated sports complex on this noman’s land.
A-square-kilometre open space, Aliabet ceased to be an island several decades ago as silt gathered on one side changed the course of the Narmada river, and it got merged with the mainland. The consultants have also reconunended an auto racing circuit around the proposed pond in the middle of Aliabet meant for aquaculture activities, boat ride in the northern tip where the Narmada river merges into the sea and a sky train and a ropeway as attractions for the entertainment zone.
However, to build all this, the consultants say, it would be necessary to landfill the area in order to increase its height by Imetres to three metres. To cost Rs crore, the landfill is necessary as large portions of Aliabet tum into a wetland during monsoon.
Even during high tide in the Gulf ofKhambhat, water seeps into five different natural ponds existing in Aliabet. Already, the Japanese have shown interest in investing in Aliabet, situated aboutkm from the industrial town of Ankleshwar.
Forming mainly of silt clay and black sand, consultants say, Aliabet can depend on Ukai canal network for water, and Gujarat Electricity Transmission Company and Gas Authority of India Ltd for gas for producing electricity for the entertainment zone.
Once the infrastructure is ready, total investment expected to come on the former island is Rscrore, providing employment to people. Roads in Aliabet, km long, will cost Rs crore.
Kalpasar dept may oppose If the state industries department is all set to go ahead with Aliabet SIR after Mott MacDonald approval, the state Kalpasar department has strong doubts about it. “Under the new design, the Kalpasar dam for having sweet water reservoir in the Gulf ofKhambhat will be built north of Narmada river. Computer modeling shows that the dam will lead to rise in the sea level by about three metres outside the reservoir,” a senior official said, adding, “Clearly, landfill in Aliabet has severe limitations. In fact, Mott MacDonald has not taken into account the impact of Kalpasar on Aliabet”.