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No longer dry, GIFT City may see investment floodgates open

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GANDHINAGAR : The Gujarat government’s move to relax liquor laws in GIFT City is likely to open the tap for investments in the area. Industrialists and real-estate operators are cheering the move as they see it bringing in more talent too.

“This is a watershed movement in the history of Gujarat. It will not be surprising if you see a 10-fold growth in GIFT City in the coming year. Within 24 hours of the State government’s announcement, I have been flooded with phone calls from foreign investors making inquiries,” said Jaxay Shah, Founder and CMD of Savvy Group, a real-estate developer operating in GIFT City.

Going Global

On Friday evening, Gujarat government announced its decision to lift the stringent prohibition laws for the GIFT City campus and permit “wine and dine” facilities for employees and visitors.

“It is not just investments, but the move to relax liquor laws will open floodgates for talent to flow into GIFT City from saturated centres such as Mumbai and Bengaluru ,” said Shah. Industrialists based in Gujarat have also welcomed the move.

“We are heading towards an internationally accepted tradition. People who come from abroad are used to a particular lifestyle. Liquor is part of this lifestyle and allowing such visitors to consume liquor makes them more comfortable,” said a veteran industrialist who did not wish to be named.

Timed vibrantly

The announcements to relax prohibition laws come just ahead of the 10th edition of Vibrant Gujarat summit to be held on January 10-12. The “wine and dine” facilities allowed in GIFT City are restricted to the hotels, clubs and restaurants within the campus.

Jigar Mota, head of transaction in Gujarat for global consultant Cushman and Wakefield (C&W), describes the State government’s move as “bold”.

“Prohibition was one of the reasons why large companies in the information technology space never had a large set up in Gujarat. The workforce employed in IT firms was not willing to migrate to a dry State. But with relaxation of prohibition laws, there could be an influx of talent from larger cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru where the intra-city travel time is long,” Mota added.

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