HCC to set up $11-bn hill station near Pune


New Delhi : Realty firm Hindustan Construction Co (HCC) is building a hill station over 12,500 acres in Maharashtra at a cost of Rs.440 billion ($11 billion).

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“The first phase of the work will be over by 2010, and the whole project, which is expected to be completed by 2020, would cost Rs.440 billion,” HCC Chairman and Managing Director Ajit Gulabchand told reporters here Monday.

Nestled in the picturesque Sahayadri mountains, along a 20-km long lake, the hill station will have all kinds of facilities, including tertiary hospitals, five-star hotels, a library, a golf course, leisure spa and convention centre.

“It would be a major educational centre as well. Symbiosis College of Pune and Christ College of Bangalore will set up their campuses inside it. As per our agreement with Oxford University, a business research centre will come up before 2010,” Gulabchand told IANS.

Christened Lavasa, the hill town, would be just an hour’s drive from Pune and three hours’ drive from Mumbai.

“We have already spent Rs.7.5 billion on developing infrastructure and by the end of 2009, the investment amount would be nearly Rs.50 billion,” said Rajgopal Nogja, president of the Lavasa project.

“From residential complex to rejuvenation centres, from studio apartments to 4,500 sq ft villas, the hill station town would be an example of modern India,” Nogja said.

Lavasa can be seen as a response to the emerging need of the upwardly mobile population in a growing nation, where one can live, work, learn and play in harmony with nature, he explained.

Authorities said looking at the picturesque setting nearly two million tourists would be expected to visit the township after the completion of the entire project.

For school education, Lavasa has already inked a pact with the Girls Day School Trust of Britain to provide expertise for a residential International Baccalaureate (IB) School starting 2009, Gulabchand added.

“A strong academia with world-class facilities, and proximity to big cities like Mumbai, the hill station would be a great place for both Indians and foreigners – either for residential purpose or tourism,” Gulabchand said.