3 yrs on, Sabeer Bhatia’s project a non-starter

Fertile piece of land
Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation gives May 31 deadline to Hotmail co-founder

Three years after the project was conceived, the much-touted project of the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIDC) — Nano City — is lying in cold storage. The HSIDC is still waiting for hear from key player Sabeer Bhatia.

In a board meeting held by the corporation last month, Bhatia, who is the co-founder of Hotmail, has been given May 31 deadline to come up with the blueprint of the project. It has been over three years since Bhatia announced his interest in investing in over 11,300-acre project but has failed to submit either structural or business plans.

Officials at the HSIDC are a disgruntled lot because of Bhatia's alleged lackadaisical attitude, the project has not been able to see light of day .

"He does not seem to be too keen about the project. Had he been, he should have started with land acquisition at least," said a senior official of the corporation. He also said that earlier Bhatia had demanded the HSIDC should mark a boundary of around 1,000 acre for the knowledge park. However, the corporation refused to do so since it was against its industrial policy. Calling it an ambitious project in the view of the size of the land, the corporation had even asked Bhatia to develop the same in phases.

There have also been reports of Bhatia roping in foreign investors but officials dismiss it as a mere eyewash. "The Nano City people have told us many a times that they would be having foreign investors for the same. But there is nothing in black or white as yet. The project has not moved beyond talks," he said.

Meanwhile, officials at Nano City Haryana Infrastructure Limited deny delaying the project. Talking to Newsline, Naval Bhatia, managing director of Nano City Haryana Infrastructure Limited, said, "There is no truth that we are not going ahead with the project. We are holding talks with foreign investors which is in the final stage. The project is likely to take off in another two months."

Nano City, a joint venture of Sabeer Bhatia and HSIDC was to come up as a knowledge hub on similar lines as Silicon Valley near Raipur Rani block. With an area of over 11300 acres and a budget of over Rs 50,000 crore, the ambitious project was touted as a regional and international hub for education, business and technology. Nano City was to have its own airport, mass rapid transit system, golf course and residential project as well. Bhatia had also claimed to have roped in real estate player, Parsvnath Developers Limited for Nano City and it was to invest around Rs 400 crore for the first phase of the project.

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