After developing exotic residential and plush commercial complexes, Royal Palms Estate will be giving Mumbai its first gem and jewellery SEZ at Goregaon, Mumbai. The move comes after the inter-ministerial Board of Approvals for SEZ’s giving clearance to the Royal Palms Gem & Jewelry SEZ on June 5, 2007.
The gem and jewellery trade is the highest foreign exchange earner for the country, with Mumbai having the largest share. Of late, though, the gem and jewellery business has been shifting out of Mumbai to other areas like Surat and Jaipur. In fact, there is a threat of India itself losing a larger slice of the business to countries like Saudi Arabia (Dubai) and China.
“The government’s move to clear SEZs in this industry comes as a positive sign and will enable the industry to be more competitive globally – especially in these times of appreciating rupee,” says Dilawar Nensey, joint managing director, Royal Palms India, which has already assigned the designing work to Singapore-based MA Architects, who have projects like Shopping Mall Orchard Road at Singapore, Resort Hotel in Thailand, Spa Hotel in Vietnam, and Nanhu Golf Villa at China to their credit.
The SEZ at Royal Palms will be spread over 25 acres of 100 per cent pollution-free zone, with total constructed area of 25 lakh square feet. In the first phase, Royal Palms will construct 12.5 lakh square feet, targeted to be complete by March 2009; the balance will be ready by December 2010. The total capital outlay is estimated to be Rs 400 crore, which is to be raised from internal accruals and debt. Talking about the tenants, Nensey says, “This is a gem and jewellery-dedicated SEZ that Royal Palms plans to develop, operate and maintain on private land within the Royal Palms complex, and, hence, we are planning only lease of units and not outright sale.”
“We plan to make units of the size of 1,000 square feet to 10,000 square feet, and cater to the small, unorganised players who generally are unable to move into high-value, fully developed SEZs. The SEZ will give such players an opportunity to take advantage of cluster and common infrastructure benefits,” Nensey added.
The cluster and common infrastructure benefits include five-star hotels (4,000-room capacity by 2008), recreational clubs and facilities, decent road connectivity, a school, a hospital, functional and occupied residential, commercial and township infrastructure, over 500 service apartments on rental basis, and a 300,000 square feet mall. An SEZ backed by such facilities of an integrated township, offering a single-point solution to all the needs of the gem and jewellery sector, is expected to create a niche in the industry.