Will giant Ferris spin on Sabarmati soon?

Thursday, 19 December 2013 - 2:13pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
After two years of initial planning, civic body now invites EOI for the wheel on riverfront.

The Sabarmati eye is all set to see the light of day two years after the idea was born as dispute over land requirement has been resolved.

So, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has finally taken a step forward towards setting up the giant Ferris wheel on the Sabarmati riverfront. AMC has invited global expression of interest (EoI) for conceptualisation, design, financing, installation and implementation, commissioning, operations, maintenance and management of the giant wheel, also known as the observation wheel.

The Ferris wheel has been under various stages of discussion and negotiation for two years. At one point, the AMC had almost shelved the project as it was not ready to part with around 20,000 sq m land required for the ambitious scheme.

Lalji Vekaria, the technical knowhow provider for London Eye, had signed a memorandum of understanding at Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2011 to set up the Ferris wheel along with other facilities like restaurants and parking lots.

The company had demanded around 20,000 sq m which costs nearly Rs250 crore and asked to prepare a detailed project report of the wheel that can be set up on a sprawling 4,000 sq m, said sources at SRFDCL. But, the AMC is now willing to provide 20,000 sq m.

The project, envisaged similar to London Eye, Singapore Flyer, Eye of Emirates, Star of Nancheng and New York Wheel to name a few, will be developed on a public private partnership (PPP) model. The AMC wants to set up the Ferris wheel having a minimum height of 135 m.

Vekaria’s company had decided to set up a 150-metre-tall giant wheel in the MoU signed with the state government. “If the height is 150 metre, then one would be able to see Surat from Ahmedabad,” said sources at SRFDCL.

Estimated to cost Rs1,250-1,300 crore, the project is likely to accommodate around 1,600 riders with 40 cubes carrying 40 people. It aims to attract international tourists to Ahmedabad.

Though the state government had signed an MoU with Vekaria’s company, it has invited global EoI to facilitate competition among developers to get the best of terms and conditions, said an SRFDCL official.

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