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Gujarat Has a Lot to Look Forward to in 2022

| Updated: December 31, 2021 23:53

Between the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in early January and the State Assembly elections in late December, Gujarat has a lot to look forward to in 2022, Omicron notwithstanding. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was all over Uttar Pradesh ahead of the state’s impending assembly elections, celebrating successfully completed projects like the refurbished Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Kanpur Metro. In the months to come, it will be Gujarat’s turn as the state government races to complete showpiece projects ahead of the elections.

The Vibrant Gujarat Summit is a major networking event, with the Who’s Who of global business in attendance. Every state organises such summits, but none has ever been able to beat Gujarat in terms of impact. Last year, the summit was cancelled on account of Covid, so this year’s event is much looked forward to. Gujarat has a new cabinet, led by a new Chief Minister and a host of new faces in the senior echelons of the bureaucracy.

Industrialists from all over the country and the world will come to shake hands with the new set, wrangling deals and signing MoUs.

The government has already announced some deals ahead of the summit, such as The Indian Hotel Company’s commitment to building a Taj hotel near the Statue of Unity and the Sardar Sarovar Dam. The area has become a tourist magnet and a five-star hotel is much needed there. On the subject of hotels, Ahmedabad can look forward to the opening of the ITC Narmada in 2022. Located on Judges Bungalow Road, it promises to be the glitziest hotel in the city. Another opening Ahmedabad can look forward to is the Palladium, the city’s first high street mall, being built by The Phoenix Mill of Mumbai in league with local real estate developer Safal. The anchor store here is expected to be Zara, which will make its debut in Ahmedabad along with a host of other upmarket retail brands. Narendra Modi may or may not attend the opening of the Palladium Mall, but he and Home Minister Amit Shah will most certainly come and ride the Ahmedabad and Surat Metros when they are commissioned in 2022.

Both the metros are expected to do wonders for their cities. The Ahmedabad Metro will connect Thaltej in the West to Vastral in the East of the city, running through 18 stations on both sides of the Sabarmati. Ahmedabad Railway Station in Kalupur, which falls on the route, will be a major beneficiary. The metro will reduce the old city-new city divide and bring the people of the Eastern and Western parts of the city psychologically closer.

Another major infrastructure project to look forward to is the Dedicated Freight Corridor between Dadri in UP, near Delhi, to Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Navi Mumbai. The Dadri-Vadodara section of this project is expected to be completed in 2022. Also due for completion in 2022 is the Vadodara-Ankleshwar section of the Mumbai-Delhi expressway. At 1380 km, this has been billed the world’s longest expressway and will cut the travel time between Mumbai and Delhi to just 15 hours. Vadodara, Ankleshwar and other towns in south Gujarat will receive a major boost as a result.

Ahmedabad is set to see the inauguration of a stylish pedestrian bridge over the Sabarmati, which will add to the charm of the riverfront.

Helicopter rides will be of offer from the riverfront for the first time during the Vibrant Gujarat summit and the coming year should see the resumption of seaplane services between Ahmedabad and the Statue of Unity. Work on the next phase of the Riverfront development will start in 2022, even as the High Court monitors the cleaning up of the Sabarmati.
On the subject of clean-ups, the Pirana landfill in Ahmedabad is set to be rehabilitated further in 2022. Around 25% of the garbage in the 80-acre garbage dump has been cleared so far and plans are to create an “oxygen garden” there. With toxic fumes from the dump reduced, if not eliminated, the Narol neighbourhood will literally receive a new lease of life.

With Gujarat’s international headline-grabbing non-vegetarian vs vegetarian controversy now put at rest, cities like Ahmedabad can look forward to enjoying the best in global cuisine in 2022. Food delivery apps have aided the growth of some interesting new kitchens in the city, offering up everything from Japanese to Bengali-Mughlai dishes. Many of the gourmet kitchens are being set up by talented chefs who have moved to the city from Mumbai, where high rents, prolonged lockdowns and police harassment have made businesses unsustainable.

The very first event of 2022 that Gujarat can look forward to is the International Kite Festival, which was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. The festival is set to be inaugurated in Ahmedabad on 8 January, and will then be extended to Surat, Kevadiya, Vadodara, Rajkot and the Kutch. International delegates may be few this year, but hey, there’ll be lots of khichdo and undhiyu. Here’s to a breezy 2022, Omicron notwithstanding!

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